Tag Archives: sharing

Giving

“Every sunrise is an invitation for us to arise and
brighten someone’s day.”
Richelle E. Goodrich from Smile Anyway:

Today I have a question for you.

Do you give your spare $20 to one man or do you give a little to several?

This has been bothering me as I walk through town today.  I took the train to town and as I got off, I saw a young man sitting in the underpass with a sign asking for help to get to see his daughter.

I stopped to speak to him and he told me his daughter was 2 yesterday and he needed help for the train fare to get there and back.  He was 17 years old and unemployed.    He was very respectful and blessed me when I gave him $2.  He said the little girl lived with her grandparents as the mother was still at school.  He acknowledged they had made a mistake but loved his child and was glad they had her.

I walked away feeling pleased that I could help him even if only in a small way, but later the question rose and lingered.  I don’t have an answer, do you?

There are more and more young people looking for help.  Some are raising money to go on a school trip, some are looking for money for food and some, like his young man, need a little help for a particular reason.  I know we can’t help them all, but we can help some.

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A Sad Card

A funny thing happened on the way to Mary Potter Hospice today.  I went to the mail box and there , among the usual bills and junk mail, was  a pretty card with an illustration of irises on the front  The back cover advised  that it was part of the Hope Greeting Collection, made from rycled paper and gave the website www.habitat.org.

Iris in flower

Inside was this sad plea, and because it was so sad, I will reproduce it exactly word for word as it was written :

“Judith my dear –
I heard of this poor soul who hasn’t
heard from her sisters for almost three
weeks.
It breaks your heart.
Love you
God Bless
Christine”

Now what would you do in the face of such a plea.  Send an email; make a phone call or send a response through snail mail?
I hate to think of this poor soul on the other side of the world (well as Christine lives in California I have to assume that she lives on the other side of the world too) waiting, hoping for a response.

So I immediately sent the following back to Christine via email :

“Oh Christine
Thank you for your card.
Your generous heart knows no bounds.
How lucky is that woman to have met you.
Can she now count you as a friend?
Please tell her that your sisters are both alive and
well, albeit in far flung places, and offer us to her as
surrogate sisters who will keep in touch with her regularly.
Love Judith”

Mother and her daughters c1945

Of course, we have been in touch since she posted this card several days ago.

A Very Strange Old Lady

I have warned you in the past how I shall be when I am old.

“I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.”

I will most definitely be outrageous, difficult and undignified but not until I am old.

Cross Old Woman

Imagine my surprise therefore, when I looked in the mirror and saw this Old Woman looking out at me.   I just had to share this other poem with you.  I don’t know who wrote it or where it’s from but it just says how I felt earlier today.

A very weird thing has happened.
I have no idea who she is, where she came from, or how she got in.
I certainly didn’t invite her.
All I know is that one day she wasn’t here and the next day she was.
She’s very clever. She manages to keep out of sight for the most part;
but whenever I pass a mirror, I catch a glimpse of her there;
and when I look into a mirror directly to check
my appearance, suddenly she’s hogging the whole thing,
completely obliterating my gorgeous face and body.
It’s very disconcerting.
I’ve tried screaming at her to leave but she just screams back, grimacing horribly.
She’s really rather frightening.
If she’s going to hang around, the least she could do is offer to pay rent.
But no. Every once in a while I do find a couple of dollar bills on the kitchen counter,
or some loose change on my bureau or on the floor, but that certainly isn’t enough.

In fact, though I don’t like to jump to conclusions, I think she steals
money from me regularly. I go to the ATM and withdraw a hundred dollars, and a few days later, it’s gone.
I certainly don’t go through it that fast, so I can only conclude that the old lady pilfers it.

old woman

You’d think she’d spend some of it on wrinkle cream.
God knows, she needs it.
And the money isn’t the only thing she’s taking.
Food seems to disappear at an alarming rate.
Especially the good stuff–ice cream, cookies, candy–
I just can’t keep them in the house. She really has a sweet tooth.

She should watch it; she’s really putting on the pounds.
I think she realizes that, and to make herself feel better,
I know she is tampering with my scale so I’ll think that I’m gaining weight, too.
For an old lady, she’s really quite childish.
She also gets into my closets when I’m not home and alters all my clothes. They’re getting tighter and
tighter every day.

Another thing:
I wish she’d stop messing with my files and the papers on my desk. I can’t find a thing any more. This is particularly hard to deal with because I’m extremely neat and organized;
but she manages to jumble everything up so nothing is where it’s supposed to be.

Furthermore, when I program my VCR to tape something important, she fiddles with it after I leave the room so it records  the wrong channel or shuts off completely.
She finds innumerable, imaginative ways to irritate me.
She gets to my newspapers, magazines, and mail before me– and blurs all the print;
and she’s done something sinister with the volume controls on my TV, radio, and phone. Now all I hear are mumbles and whispers.

She’s also made my stairs steeper, my vacuum cleaner heavier, all my knobs and faucets hard to turn
and my bed higher and it’s a real challenge to climb into and out of.
Furthermore, she gets to my groceries as soon as I shelve them and applies super glue to the tops of every jar and bottle so they’re just about impossible to open.
Is this any way to repay my hospitality?

I don’t even get any respite at night. More than once,
her snoring has awakened me.
I don’t know why she can’t do something about that. It’s very unattractive.

As if all this isn’t bad enough, she is no longer confining her malevolence to the house. She’s now found a way to sneak into my car with me and follows me wherever I go.
I see her reflection in store windows as I pass. and she’s taken all the fun out of clothes shopping, because her penchant for monopolizing mirrors has extended to dressing rooms.
When I try something on, she dons and identical outfit- which looks ridiculous on her– and then stands directly in front of me so I can’t see how great it looks on me!

I thought she couldn’t get any meaner than that, but yesterday she proved me wrong. She had the nerve to come with me when I went to have some passport pictures taken, and actually stepped in front of the camera just as the shutter clicked.
Disaster! I have never seen such a horrible picture.
How can I go abroad now? No customs official is ever going to believe that crone scowling from my passport is me.

She’s walking on very thin ice.
If she keeps this up, I swear, I’ll put her in a home.
On second thought, I shouldn’t be too hasty.
First, I think I’ll check with the IRS and see if
I can claim her as a dependent.

Granny on computer

(sigh….. bet that strange old lady is on “her” puter too!) What’s a body to do??????

Lunch in the wind

Husband and wife

 I went to a hen-party at the weekend.  The bride to be is the daughter of a close friend, in fact she is one of my surrogate daughters.  The theme of the party was the 1950s Wife.

What fun we had.  We had to drive about 75 minutes from Wellington over the Rimutaka Range to get to Martinborough.  It was a lovely, sunny summer day apart from gale force winds that raged throughout the day.

The party started at 11am at the house of one of the bride’s future sisters in law.  The house and garden were decorated a la 1950.  Doylies hung from trees, bright red lanterns also swung in the breeze.  The tables sported lace tablecloths (where did they all come from) and there were antimacassars on the backs of a couple of chairs.

After champagne and ‘girlish’ chatter and talk we took off for lunch.  This was in the Trio Cafe at Coney Wines.  The Martinborough area is probably the centre of wine making in the North Island of New Zealand.

We were seated at a large table in the courtyard but because of the wind, the covers were all in place before we arrived.  All 18 of us had an envelope with our name on it and inside was a pithy comment relating to the 1950s.  We were encouraged to join in the wine tasting; each wine was accompanied by witty talk from the winemaker and owner of the vineyard and cafe.

The hostess had prepared a set of cards with questions that she had asked the groom about the bride.  Each of us in turn asked the bride what her groom would have answered to each of the questions.  Questions and answers were hilarious – or was it the champagne, wine tasting and wine with lunch?

After a long. relaxed lunch we went back to the house.  There the games continued.  Because of my big red Santa boot, I was given a seat and with one other woman was declared to be the judge of what happened next.

The women divided into two teams and were given ribbons, sellotape, staples and stapler and white embossed paper – looked like wallpaper to me.  They were charged with making wedding dresses.  They had about 20 minutes to complete the chore but as the timer was me, and as my watch has no figures on it, it was pretty hit and miss.  But what great things these women produced from these basic items.  We declared a dead heat as they were both so good!

Wine all round amidst the laughter and chatter and then on to the next game.

Hoover

Just what a 1950's wife wanted

The bride has 15 minutes to complete each in a series of exercises to decide whether she was fit to be a 1950s wife and this all happened outside in the sunshine, with women of different ages and in different stages of alcoholic consumption cheering her on.

But first the bride had to don a pinny (pinafore/apron) – pink and white frilly; long white stockings adorned with red hearts; a pair of fluffy pink slippers and the final insult, rollers in the hair.  What a sight.  Photos are still on the way.

cookery book

No NZ home was complete without one!

The first task was to make pancakes.  She was given a dog-eared copy of an old NZ cookbook, eggs, milk, flour and a bowl and whisk and was then expected to cook these things on a barbecue – note here that nobody thought to turn the thing on so the pancakes were not very good.  My fellow judge and I awarded her 7 out of 10 because we took into account that she was operating under difficulty.

Task No 2 – wash husband’s shirt.  Well this time she had a small bowl, cold water and some dishwashing liquid.  Shirt was dunked into soapy water but because there was no clean water supplied, had to be hung on the line without being rinsed.  To the accompaniment of much encouragement she hung the shirt but discussion ensued as to the best way to hang shirts.  The two judges decreed that shirts should be hung draped across the line and pegged under the armpits.  Well otherwise the shirt sleeves were dragging on the floor.  Points out of 10 – 7  because she kept listening to the others instead of the knowledgable judges.

And finally, she had to iron a shirt.  Again, nobody turned on the iron and so we had to wait for it to heat up.  But she did so well that we awarded her 10 points and all decided that she had done so well that she deserved a cheer and we said she could keep the stockings, slippers etc because they really suited her.

Vitamins

By this time it was about 6pm and we decided to go home leaving the young women to enjoy the rest of their evening.

As a 1950’s bride/housewife I could remember when a Kenwood Chef or a Sunbeam Mixmaster was considered an appropriate Christmas gift for ‘the wife’.  Fortunately, not for me.  What a fun day we had and I was so very privileged to have been made part of it.

And for some more fun advertisements from long ago visit the post I wrote in August “And Today’s Offers”

Happy New Year

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go.  If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

It’s New Year’s Eve – Let’s Celebrate

I am not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yesterday and I love today.

I should like to wish all my blogging friends a really Happy and peaceful New Year.  May your wishes (and your resolutions) come true in 2012.

What is Life – Part 2

I posted a poem by an unknown author on Monday.  The post was entitled What is Life and has spawned a life of its own.  I am so thankful to all those who added their lines, and would now like to share with you how clever our fellow bloggers are.

The original poem reads –

Life is a gift ….accept it
Life is an adventure ….dare it
Life is a mystery….unfold it
Life is a game….play it
Life is a struggle….face it
Life is beauty….praise it
Life is a puzzle….solve it
Life is opportunity….take it
Life is sorrowful….experience it
Life is a song….sing it
Life is a goal….achieve it
Life is a mission…fulfill it.

To this I added –
Life is for living….live it
Then JessieJeanine added –
Life is for loving….give it –
Lenore Diane added
Life is a story….tell it
And Kathy at Pocket Perspectives made me a get well gift using the poem and then produced a second post – morphed from the first entitled Happy New Day– Happy New Moment.
Then on this second post from Kathy
the petalpusher commented
Life is a big wave….surf it and
Sometimes life seems too salty….sweeten it!
Patricia added – Life is a gift …..open it

I really would love to hear your ideas on life to add to this growing list.

Thanks for reading and for all the good wishes and kind words you have sent me.  And here once again is the ubiquitous rainbow that I wish to share with you.

Rainbow

My rainbow

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down.
Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

The Queens Came Late

We all know about the three wise men/kings but their queens are so often forgotten or neglected.

Do you know the poem “The Queens Came Late” by Norma Farber?  My elder sister introduced it to me several years ago and it quickly became a firm favourite in our house.

“The Queens came late, but the Queens were there
With gifts in their hands and crowns in their hair.
They’d come, these three, like the Kings, from far,
Following, yes, that guiding star.
They’d left their ladles, linens, looms,
Their children playing in nursery rooms,
And told their sitters:
“Take charge! For this
Is a marvelous sight we must not miss!”
The Queens came late, but not too late
To see the animals small and great,
Feathered and furred, domestic and wild,
Gathered to gaze at a mother and child.
And rather than frankincense and myrrh
And gold for the babe, they brought for her
Who held him, a homespun gown of blue,
And chicken soup–with noodles, too-
And a lingering, lasting, cradle-song.
The Queens came late and stayed not long,
For their thoughts already were straining far-
Past manger and mother and guiding star
And a child aglow as a morning sun-
Toward home and children and chores undone.”
From the Night It Snowed by Norma Farber
1909-1984 , children’s book author and poet.

Without wanting to step on anybody’s beliefs I have to say that I wonder what use gold, frankincense and myrrh would be to a poor carpenter and his wife who had just given birth.  But a homespun gown of blue, chicken noodle soup and a song for the babe would surely have been more use to them at that time and in that place.

What are your thoughts on this?

Gift Time

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”
William A. Ward, American writer 1921–1994

We know that Christmas is only 39 days away as I write this.  And by the time you read it, it will be even closer – click here to see just how close.

Image via Wikipedia

The shops here are full of decorations and Christmas carols are being played over their sound systems.  For those who work in those stores, I guess that this will all quickly pall.  And we have Christmas in the summer so the scenes of snow, sleighs and houses with firesmoke coming out the chimney make even less sense.

Here in New Zealand nature has given us our own Christmas Tree – the Pohutakawa that blooms from November to January – so it’s nickname is the NZ Christmas tree.  It survives all around New Zealand, is  evergreen and has these amazing bright red flowers that shout out Christmas! to us.  By the way it is pronounced just as it is written po-hu-ta-ka-wa.  Try it.

Pohutukawa tree

Image via Wikipedia

Of course the reason for the music and decorations is to get us to spend our hard-earned money on gifts that we (possibly) can’t afford and the recipients (probably) don’t want and (also probably) don’t need .  But year after year we continue with this mad gift buying, giving and exchanging.

Man with gifts

In our family we have cut down on a lot of this giving.  We give to children but not adults, except in my case as I just can’t ignore my children and their spouses.  But I have been given a strict limit of how much I can spend on each person (adult or child)  by my daughter.

I have also cut down the number of friends to whom I give gifts.  This number is now down to only two or three.  See comment above about recipients of gifts.

And of course, for those of you in the US you have Thanksgiving looming. Do you exchange gifts on this day?

So I began to think about some gifts that cost nothing but are well received whenever they are shared.

  • SIX GIFTS THAT DON’T COST A CENT

    • The Gift of Listening-  But you must really listen.  Don’t interrupt, don’t daydream, don’t plan your response.  Just listen.
    • The Gift of Affection- Be generous with hugs and/or kisses (where appropriate) and pats on the back.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love and respect you have for family and friends.
    • The Gift of Laughter – Share funny articles and stories.  Send cartoons that have a meaning.  Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
    • The Gift of a Favour – Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.  This is one of my favourites.
    • The Gift of a Written Note – A  simple “Thanks for the help, dinner or whatever” note.  A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a long time.
    • The Gift of a Compliment – A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,”  ”You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

Gifts don’t have to cost the earth; they don’t have to add to our credit card debt; they don’t have to be big and fancy; they just have to be well thought out and given with love.  No doubt you will be giving gifts to your nearest and dearest family and friends this Christmas, but think about these six gifts that you can give at any time during the year.  No special occasion.  Just a gift of sharing.

The only gift is a portion of thyself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American essayist,
lecturer, and poet. 1803 –  1882

Happiness is…

” …he was discovering happiness in the present.
When he sat reading in the library or playing Mozart in the music-room, he often felt the invasion of a deep spiritual emotion, as if Shangri-La were indeed a living essence, distilled from the magic of the ages and miraculously preserved against time…”
From “Lost Horizon” by James Hilton,
English Novelist 1900-1954

Book cover

Dust Jacket from the first edition. Via Wikipedia

Have you read this classic? It was a must when I was growing up.  The Second World War was just over and we wanted to believe there was a Shangri-La aka Utopia.  Perhaps we thought one would even be the outcome of the peace between the nations.

The book tells the story of a disenchanted member of the British diplomatic service stationed in Afghanistan.  To escape a revolution the white residents of Baskul are being evacuated to Peshawar, Pakistan but the plane is hijacked and Conway, the diplomat and his 3 companions disappear.  The plane crash lands, the pilot is killed and the four passengers seek shelter at a monastery named Shangri-La high up in the mountains of Tibet.

The book was published in 1933 so some of the prose is archaic outdated but it is well worth reading.  It caught the imagination of the populace and in fact, Camp David, the presidential hideaway, was originally called Shangri-La by US President Franklin D Roosevelt.

So what does Shangri-La mean to you?

  • Do you seek a peaceful and unhurried place to live out your life?
  • Do you want a serene environment with a place for everything and everything in it’s place?
  • Do you want to be surrounded by good friends who support you and who you can support in turn?
  • Do you want a world without war and aggression?

Some of these things are within our ability to achieve, if not 100% then pretty close to it.  Remember Lord Marks of Marks and Spencer fame said “The cost of perfection is too great.  Close enough is good enough.”  Imagine how you would feel if you could invent your own Shangri-La even if it was only 90/95% perfect.

  • We can slow down the pace of our lives.  We can determine how much we want to do (notwithstanding the fact that most of us have to work to live).  Do we have to be so involved in the myriad of things we have chosen.  Remember to slow down and smell the roses!
  • We can achieve a serene environment by de-cluttering (is there such a word) our home and office and getting rid of all the extraneous baggage that we have accumulated over the years.  If you haven’t used it or worn it in the past six months, chances are you never will.
  • We can reach out to friends offering our support and accepting their support in return.  If we surround ourselves with like minded people there is no room for the toxic folk who try to invade our lives and minds.
  • A world without war and aggression is not so easy to accomplish but let’s start in a small way.  Let’s try really hard not to react aggressively when confronted with something or somebody we don’t like.

I would love to hear your take on Lost Horizon and of course your thoughts on Shangri-La and how to achieve your own Utopia.

PS – I once stayed at a hotel called  Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort in Penang, Malaysia.  And it lived up to it’s name in all respects.

Power, Passions and Positive Belief

Polar bear falling

I am currently running a six week course entitled “The Power of Positive Belief” for a Women’s Centre some 60 kms north of here.   I have run this course and several others a few times for them before. This current course has 9 attendees and last Monday was the first session.

Of course, I have an outline for each session and we build on it as we go through the session.

Session One is headed “Believe in Yourself” and we talk about the power of believing in oneself.  I always give several examples of those who really believed in themselves and achieved:

  • Roger Bannister the first person to break the 4-minute mile
  • Maxie Fowler who gained his law degree in California at the age of 61 after having sat and failed the exam many times
  • George Dantzig who, arriving late for class, thought that the formulae on the board was homework.  He solved two ‘insolvable’ equations that had stumped Einstein
  • David Baldacci author of countless best sellers, had a drawer full of pink rejection slips before his first book was published, and many more.

We talk about the five Ps – Passion, Priority, Practice, Performance and Purpose and how we can use these to get what we want.

Everybody is encouraged to participate and Last Monday’s group took on board the 5 Ps and we ended up spending much of the 2 hours talking about passions and how to identify them and build on them.  Most of them couldn’t identify a passion and so I agreed to send them a worksheet to help and they agreed that they would work on this during the week and we would pick up again on Monday.

So I had to come home and devise a worksheet.  Over the years I have produced many worksheets but I have never had a group so interested in finding their passions before and I am very excited about it.

So tomorrow’s session will be on Passions and Self Limiting Beliefs – all I have to do now is put the session together.

Believe

If you can conceive it
and believe it
you will achieve it.”