The Wise Words of Five Women…Six if You Count Me

Today is a good day.  I showered for the third day in a row, no small feat when you are at home with 2 young children and can’t shower at night since the sound of the shower wakes up the baby.   And, I have caught up to the present day in the Do Good Reading Challenge.   Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is indeed a great day.

Day 22: “Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.”  This quote by Napoleon Hill came to mind when I read 12 Days To Make Every Day Count  written by Diane Lang on her blog Creating Balance and Finding Happiness.  Number 7 on her list reads, “Every problems/issue or negative situation is a learnable, teachable moment. Always ask yourself: what can I learn from this  situation?”  I love this because it reframes the idea of a “problem” and gives you the chance to turn it into an opportunity.  When I was a manager in the nonprofit world, I would often tell my staff to come to me with solutions not problems.  It was something that a former boss of mine had instilled in me and I always felt empowered by it.  This is not to say that we wouldn’t discuss the problems and solutions, but I wanted my team to feel empowered to create change.  There is nothing like that feeling of knowing that you have solved a problem and made a significant contribution to your company, household, neighborhood or community group.  So, friends, next time you face a bump in the road, be creative and find the opportunity in it.

Bubble Bath 3

Bubble Bath 3 (Photo credit: MacGeekGrl)

Day 23:  On my journey through the Blogosphere today I met a woman who is on a mission to make positive changes in her life and be the person she wants to be.  Her blog The Journey of a Baby Giraffe is focused on the 100 in 2013 challenge that she has embarked on create change in her life in one year’s time.   I love this idea of creating a list of goals and working towards it over the course of year.  What makes this list unique is that it is a compilation of goals from the very simple (#83 – Take a bubble bath) to the very complex (#3 – Get into Grad School).  It is quite insightful of the author to recognize that the “little things” are just as important as the “big things” and deserve a place on the list too.   On a side note, I love finding other Philadelphia area bloggers and this happens to be one of them.  Yet another reason to follow her progress!

Day 24:  I feel validated about my inability to keep up with my daily reading and posting for the Do Good Summer Reading Challenge.   It’s one of the perils of summer time with children, according to JustMomMatters.   Her latest post, Summertime: When Inconsistency Is Inevitable, really rang true with me.  She writes honestly about how difficult it is to complete any writing projects when her three boys are at home and longing to hang with her.  Sure, she has started many drafts, but most have yet to be finished.  And that is okay.  She is doing what is truly important at this point in her life – being a mother to her boys who want her to play with them.  There will come a time in our lives when our kids will not want us to be near them, let alone talk to them.  So, we need to seize the moment and have fun with them when we can.  And this is why I am not upset that I am once again behind in my writing.  I have been doing important things, like painting with my girls, splashing in pools, having tea parties and playing house.Image via www.someecards.com

Day 25:  How do you teach compassion to your kids?  That is the opening line of today’s blog discovery, All Day Mom.  The title of Carissa’s post, Teaching Kids Compassion: Family Does, caught my eye when browsing the parenting blogs because I am always looking for ideas on how to inspire empathy in my children.  Carissa’s grandmom recently had an electrical fire in her house and unfortunately her insurance does not cover cleaning or replacing her goods.  So the family has come together to help her grandmother recover from this crisis, because, as Carissa says, Family Does.  It’s true.  Family should take care of family.    In this case, Carissa went over to help clean out her grandmom’s house and her kids tagged along out of necessity.  It was not in the plan for them to help, but they jumped into action despite her encouragement to stand aside.  It was then that she had an “AHA” moment and realized that they could handle some of the tasks ahead and that this was compassion in action.  Her kids saw the state of their great grandmom’s house and wanted, no, needed to help.  Her point is that we do not need to shelter our kids from tragedy or crisis.  Within reason, we can involve them in helping in the recovery and nurture their inner-compassion. What do you think?

Day 26: Today, I found She Loves Mystery So Much She Became One and she made me laugh.  Thanks to her for that.  “Silence is golden. Unless you have kids. Then it is suspicious.”  This is something that every single parent on the planet can appreciate.  I can’t count the number of times that I have said, “It’s too quiet in here” and then leapt up to see what the girls were doing.   This was just the kind of post I needed to read on a Friday night, after a day that I spent wishing for silence so I could catch up on my blog.  Had my wish been granted, I probably would have paid for it big time.  Let’s face it, kids who are up to no good are quiet.  Quiet like ninjas.   They are so focused on their transgressions they can’t even be bother to make noise to disguise their naughtiness as normal play.  There was a time when our family was visiting with The Hubs’ best friend’s family who has a daughter about Josie’s age.  The two of them disappeared for a while and finally one of us adults observed that they were being much too quiet.  Oh boy.  The Hubs and his bestie went off to search for the missing girls and found them in the master bedroom huddled together painting each others nails. And their arms. And the floor. And let’s not forget the walls.  Yes, silence is golden until you have children.  What trouble have your children gotten into when you realized it was too quiet?

I found Lily standing on the kitchen table when things were too quiet.  She sat as soon as she saw me so this is the best evidence I've got.

I found Lily standing on the kitchen table when things were too quiet. She sat as soon as she saw me so this is the best evidence I’ve got.

Despite the fact that I am having trouble posting on a daily basis as I’d hoped, this Do Good Summer Reading Challenge has been awesome.  You should join in.  Let’s help each other find awesome blogs.

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On Life, Adolescence, Coffee and Goodbyes

I’ve completed 2 weeks of the Do Good Summer Reading Challenge.  I’ve discovered fourteen wonderful blogs and have been inspired to write on topics that I never would have had reason to before.   I am growing my network and contributing to the truly vibrant blogging community here on Worpress and beyond.  Interested in joining?  It’s never too late.  Click the image on the right to find out how!

Day 11:  I took the holiday off, but discovered this gem on Friday and think it will stick with me for a lifetime.  Clare at Grace and Poise shared with her readers 40 Little Instructions on Life and they are so valuable they needed to be shared.  Clare’s list is simple, yet inspiring.  I frequently talk to my girls about using manners, being kind and the such, and this list is yet another tool in my box for teaching my girls how to live happy, fulfilled lives.  Some of my favorites include:

“Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Leave everything a little better than you found it.”

“Think big thoughts but relish simple pleasures.”

“Don’t expect life to be fair”

If you want to read the whole list, you’ll have to visit Grace and Poise!

Day 12:  On today’s hop around the blog-o-sphere, I visited The Waiting.  Emily has one of the coolest “About” pages I’ve seen and her writing draws you in.  Her most current post is part of a Blog Hop called “Remember The Time When We Did The Things.”  As I understand it, the blog hop will have a different theme each Thursday and audience participation is encouraged.  I happened upon the week about summer vacation.  So, in the spirit of participation, I must share some embarrassing stories from summer vacations of yore.  My family loves to tell the story of the time that I galloped down a hillside somewhere in California to pee on the side of the road.  The details are fuzzy.  We were in a van (I think) and on a road trip to Lake Tahoe (I think) and I had to pee like I’d never had to pee before or since.  I was maybe 11 or so and there was not a bathroom in sight.  Despite my pleading, nobody wanted to stop until I started crying (I think).  When the powers that be finally decided to stop the van, I “galloped like a gazelle” (straight from the mouth of my cousin) down the hillside, much to the delight and entertainment of everyone in the van, and relieved myself, hopefully out of the view of my parents, uncle, brother and cousins.  Ahhh, the fond memories I have of summer road trips.   What are your “classic” summer memories?

Zebra Garden
Day 13: Can a cup of coffee create positive change in the world? Sharman at 365 Cups of Kindness is on a mission to find out and I think she is onto something.   Her idea, to buy a random person a cup of coffee every day for a year, came to her shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  As a school principal, she was deeply affected by the shooting.  When shopping the next day for a gift for her church’s toy drive, she was appalled by the rudeness and hostility shown by the other shoppers and began to wonder if anyone practiced kindness and compassion anymore.   When finished shopping she and her husband stopped at Starbucks, and spontaneously she gave the cashier $20 to pay for coffees for those behind her and the idea for her blog was born.  Now, she has purchased 157 cups of coffee for others and, though each one is special, she writes that Cup 157 may be her favorite.  This particular cup led to a conversation with a man who was truly grateful and whose story is quite inspiring.  Won’t you join me in spreading her kindness further?  Next time you are in line for coffee, think about buying one for the person behind you.  A small kindness goes a long way!

Cup of coffee

Cup of coffee (Photo credit: Etenil)

Day 14: I was incredibly close with my Granny and she passed suddenly one night 10 years ago.  She was not sick.  There was no warning.  I have debated in my mind a 1000 times whether it would have been better for her to go as she did, suddenly, or to have had an illness that forewarned us of her impending death.   On selfish days, I wish that she had been ill and that I could have told her how much I loved her, how important our relationship was to me, that she would always hold a piece of my heart, that I was so sad she would never meet my husband or children, that life without her in it scared me.  But, on my more rational days, I know that she passed in the way that caused her the least amount of suffering.  I would not have wanted her to suffer.  My memories of my Granny’s death were brought to the surface when I read The First Goodbye at Living Life to the Fullest From the End Stage.  Mike has terminal brain cancer and is sharing his thoughts and experiences through his blog.  This particular one is on a topic that is so difficult – saying goodbye to your child.  He writes that no parent should have to say the words “I know we will probably not see each other again” to their child and goes on to tell the story of how he had to say goodbye to his eldest daughter who lives away from home.  This post is full of raw emotion and you should definitely grab a tissue before reading it.  

Rounding Out the Week…

Day 5:  Today I entered the world of Kristen Hansen Brakeman and encountered a hysterical tirade about Vitamin Water, specifically a radio spot that featured a non-celebrity swimsuit model as a spokeswoman for the product.  You should read her post to get a taste of her spirited sense of humor and truly brilliant ideas for behind-the-scenes footage of Vitamin Water.  As I read, I thought about all the times in my life that I have gotten irrationally mad about something that I should have just let roll off my back.  The biggest offender in my life is drivers who use the shoulder to avoid sitting in a line of traffic.  I know I should just ignore them and hope that there is a police officer ahead to nab their law-breaking tushies.  But, my blood boils.  I grip the wheel until my knuckles are white.  I start to yell at the drivers, you know, because they can hear me, right?  And then, I am that person who blocks their path by driving half on the shoulder and half in my lane, all the while claiming victory, as my grip loosens on the wheel, my blood returns to its normal 98.6 degrees and I start to hum a happy tune again.

Day 6:  It’s Yoonanimous!  This reading challenge is so fun because I am just hitting gold at every turn.  Today, I visited Yoonanimous and read the most recent post about marital traps.  The author, Yoona Park, describes “marital traps” as situations she tries to avoid because of how much tension they create between she and her husband.  I think that anyone in a committed relationship can relate to this, so she had me at hello.  As I read on she related humorous stories about H&M t-shirts and her husband’s grill and how he gets very territorial about it.   And then I read her piece about the bike rack for the car.  I cannot count how many “nice” family days have started out with an obscene amount of F Bombs targeted mostly at my bike lovingly referred to by The Hubs as B****.  He and the B**** bike have wrestled each other countless times to simply be strapped to the car so that we can embark on a family ride.  I’ve learned to avoid the loading of the bikes process at all costs.  It’s best to load the kids in the car, lock the doors and turn up the music to drown out his verbal assault on the bike rack and B**** bike.  If am so stupid as to open my mouth to try to help, I will become the target and that is just ill-advised if we want to continue on to our family outing.  I also must steer clear of The Hubs when he is assembling children’s toys or furniture purchased from Ikea for the same reason.  What are your marital traps?

Day 7:  To round out the first week of the summer reading challenge, I decided to search the WordPress Reader for blogs with the tag “kindness.”  Once again, I was exhilarated with what I’ve stumbled upon.  Harula at wordsthatserve has embarked on a journey of doing at least one good deed a day for an entire year, and is documenting her acts on her blog.  Even better, she is documenting the kindnesses that she has received too.  I love this so much because often the focus is on doing good for others, but we sometimes forget to recognize how much goodness we have received!  Since she was inspired by another blogger to take the journey, you get a twofer today.   Harula’s inspiration is Rosie Amber who started her journey in April after reading A Year of Doing Good by Judith O’Reilly, a book that will be added to my Kindle library later today.  I always find it uplifting to read about how others are living a do-gooder life and these two ladies certainly are.  What is the last good deed that you have done?  When were you last on the receiving end of a good deed?

With the first week of the Do Good Read More Summer Reading Challenge down, I am raising a glass to this challenge and inviting all of you to jump on board for the ride.  I’m feeling inspired and invigorated in ways that I haven’t since launching my blog. Moreover, I am connecting with other bloggers and offering what little I have to give – my words in the form of comments on their blogs and mine about their posts.  I hope that my small acts of commenting and sharing links have helped build their community of readers, I know it has mine.  After all, this challenge, boiled down simply, is to do small acts of kindness daily  with the knowledge that small acts often produce a much greater return than expected.  So, are you ready to be challenged?  It is never too late to start!

final sum read chall

Reading Challenge Starts Monday!

final sum read chall

Summer Reading Challenge Rules:

  1. Display the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge Image on your website and link it back to this post.
  2. Read one blog that you have never visited each day from June 24th – August 18th. Explore other blogging platforms, click on suggested posts, ask others for suggestions – the only rule is that the blog must be “new to you.”
  3. Leave a comment for each of the bloggers whom you have discovered. You can offer support and constructive criticism or share knowledge and ideas.
  4. Share the blogs you have discovered in any way you see fit. Blog daily, compile weekly lists, or write a “This is How I Spent My Summer” post sharing all the links.

Follow these rules and by the end of the summer, you will have connected with 56 new bloggers and your exposure will have grown considerably. Better yet, you will be supporting your fellow writers who, like you, take the time and have the courage to share their thoughts and ideas with world using blogging as their medium.

via Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.

Random Act of Kindness Weekly Challenge 6.19.2013

This week’s challenge was inspired by another blogger who is documenting her bucket list journey.  Christine at Project Light to Life recently posted about how she found $6.00 on the floor at the mall and went on to leave $5.00 at the Disney Store where she hoped a child would find it.  I hope that a child did find it, because I can just picture the delight on his face at the discovery, can’t you?  I am sure that there was a pit in his stomach, the nervous excitement that comes with unexpected good fortune, as he told his parents about the discovery, all the while hoping he’d get to keep the money.   To find money as an adult is exciting,but to find money as a child is thrilling, don’t you think?

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors.

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors. (Photo credit: Lighttruth)

The Challenge:  Brighten a child’s day by leaving money with a note encouraging kindness where a child will find it.

There are so many ways you can accomplish this and I encourage you to be creative, but in case you are looking for concrete ideas, read on.  The amount of your “kindness donation” is up to you.  Do you have a ton of spare change around?  Fill a baggie with coins.  Do you want to really thrill a child?  Leave a nice, crisp $20 bill for one to find.  I’d suggest leaving your “kindness donation” at a playground, sports field, toy store, pool or community center.  Not sure what to write?  Here are some ideas:

  • “A gift from me to you, out of the kindness of my heart.  Remember, kindness counts.”
  • “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” Henry David Thoreau
  • “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” Arthur Ashe

Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge

‘Tis the season of summer reading lists….do you have yours ready yet?  I am an avid reader and am looking forward to reading some books that have been buzzed about: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo and Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld have made the list, all books I discovered on this excellent summer reading list.   But, I have decided to go on a entirely new reading adventure this summer and you are invited!  My blog’s purpose is to inspire adults and children to improve their own lives by doing good, being kind and making a difference in the lives of others. The Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge provides each of us with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our fellow bloggers, and, in the process, improve readership and exposure on our blogs too.   Will you join me on the challenge?

final sum read chall

Summer Reading Challenge Rules:

  1. Display the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge Image on your website and link it back to this post.
  2. Read one blog that you have never visited each day from June 24th  –  August 18th.   Explore other blogging platforms, click on suggested posts, ask others for suggestions – the only rule is that the blog must be “new to you.”
  3. Leave a comment for each of the bloggers whom you have discovered. You can offer support and constructive criticism or share knowledge and ideas. 
  4. Share the blogs you have discovered in any way you see fit.  Blog daily, compile weekly lists, or write a “This is How I Spent My Summer” post sharing all the links. 

Follow these rules and by the end of the summer, you will have connected with 56 new bloggers and your exposure will have grown considerably.  Better yet, you will be supporting your fellow writers who, like you, take the time and have the courage to share their thoughts and ideas with world using blogging as their medium.

Are you ready for the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading ChallengeJoin today and then share this invitation with your network!

 

**Note: This challenge is clearly targeted towards bloggers, but you don’t have to be a blogger to participate.  Simply read a new blog and comment on it each day and you, too, will be making a difference in the lives of bloggers!**

Random Act of Kindness Weekly Challenge

Reblogging in honor of World Blood Donor Day! If you are a donor, thank you! If you are not, please consider donating today – a small piece of yourself can save the life of someone else.

The Do-Gooder Mama

This week’s challenge is:  Give a Piece of Yourself, Literally.   Though, you don’t necessarily have to give this week, just make the commitment.

  • Register to be an organ donor.   According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, there are 117,715 people waiting for an organ and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ.   And one donor, yes one, can save up to 8 lives.
  • Donate blood or platelets.  The American Red Cross is always in need of blood donations and has recently been urging platelet donations too.  So, register to give blood today.  Or, step it up and organize a blood drive.  Your blood could save a person’s life.
  • Donate bone marrow.  Register with Be The Match to become a bone marrow donor.   This is dsimefinitely stepping it up from simply donating blood, and is something that you and your…

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