Gratitude Sunday: Simply Start At Home

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Quote of the Week – “We have two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing.” paraphrased from Billy Graham

Sunday Haiku
Lilac branch, naked
against the gray sky, bud tips
swell, presaging spring.

Sunday Musings
In the new year one often sets goals, which may or may not be achieved. Sometimes the goal is too large. It can help to have small steps on one’s goal list. It’s like the phrase “think globally, act locally”. Simplify and begin at home.

Consider the act of giving. This may be a hard concept if you feel yourself to be a low-income person who has little in the way of abundance. You might think you have nothing to give or share. You might not have learned how to give and share in your family, or church group, or school, or community. Think simply. It can be easier than you think. You may have more to give than you think.

We didn’t have to be philanthropists with millions of dollars to give to charities, hampered by ethics laws against contributing to individuals or individual households. Humans are hardwired to care about others and to share what we have, even though there is a concerted effort being made to educate us out of this natural inclination. You and I can give whatever we want to whomever we want whenever we want, individuals or otherwise.

Do you have a nice coat? Good. Do you have another coat you never use, one that doesn’t fit any more, or is a funky color that doesn’t suit you, or is uncomfortable? Give that coat away. Sell it if you must or if you can. Know also if you give the coat away, you have provided comfort for somebody who may not be able to afford a coat.

Go through your clothing and determine if you have things you can share. Did you find that joke pair of socks, still in the package, that you will never be caught dead in, and besides you have a drawer full of perfectly good socks you will wear? Did you find that dress you bought that was on the edge of being too small but was so cute you had to have it, and then never wore because every time you put it on it didn’t feel right? Did you find that pair of hiking boots you wore once which gave you the worst blisters in your life that took a month to heal and you’ve never gone hiking again? Those socks could keep somebody else’s feet warm, that dress might be somebody else’s go-to work dress, those boots might help some young person get out into the woods.

What about your kids’ stuff? As you go closet by closet, set an example and have your littles see if they have good usable things they can give away. Be realistic: make sure the items are in like-new or barely used condition. Nobody needs another stained rag unless you are scrubbing floors. Also use caution pushing kids to get rid of stuff before they are ready. Aim for an anxiety-free event here.

Do you have adult children who have left things behind? Check with the kid and box that stuff up. Share it with someone who has less or who has the need. Vintage clothing are often welcomed donations at local theater departments for the entertainment of others. Entertainment is a great treat.

Take a look through your linen closet. Do you have a set of sheets for a mattress you no longer own? Outta here. How about that blanket you don’t use because it slides off the bed? Gone. Or the 142 hand towels, and the 89 washcloths of which you have a dozen faves that feel good on your skin? Yeah, them too. People are different. The ones you don’t like might feel good on another person’s skin, another person might use different sheets and the blanket stays on their bed just fine, and somebody is going to enjoy finding sheets that fit their bed.

How about your medicine cabinet? That gift soap you didn’t like the smell of, all those little sample toothpastes and floss from the dentist, the lotion you didn’t try because the odor repelled you can all be donated for others to use. The fragrance that doesn’t suit you will be just right for a different body’s chemistry.

In my community we have a blessing box in front of one of the local churches. Anybody can make a contribution and anybody can take items as needed. It’s kind of a 24/7/365 street-side food bank and suggested donations are canned goods, bottled water in summer, toiletries and bathroom tissue, feminine and health care products, diapers and baby products. I’ve heard of communities that have a blessing box in every neighborhood. This is where I donate the toiletries I don’t use, or samples that come in the mail that won’t be used by my household.

I have to be very careful how I spend my food and hygiene money. A couple of our local stores offer free coupons for items as loss leaders to get you into the store. I take advantage of those free items even if my family doesn’t use them and donate them to the blessing box. Everybody is different. Somebody else is sure to like what you don’t.

That’s called sharing. There are simple ways to share your stuff. You can share by having a garage sale, or by donating the items to charities, churches, clothing swaps, resource closets, or to individuals. Be creative. Sometimes you can find community information pages on social media with similar ideas and suggestions.

Looking for some direct action sharing? Offer to take your elderly friend grocery shopping, and be willing to be patient and kind with her when it takes her five hours to do all she wants to do. Don’t accept her offer of gas money, but if she offers you home made cookies next time you see her, graciously accept and say thank you.

The untidy house on the corner? Knock on their door with gardening gloves on and shears in one hand and a rake in the other and offer to pull weeds around the house for an hour every week. Make sure you don’t look scary like Freddy Krueger with implements of destruction. Ask if there are any plants they don’t want removed, and always take care of the clean up. Never leave a bigger mess than you find. Welcome them if they are inspired or able to come work beside you, even if they just come out for a chat. Don’t be offended if they turn you down, but try offering again at a later date.

Organize a community resource center matching people in need with people who can do the work. Little or no cash need be exchanged, but trash removal projects, or elder home painting parties, or yard clean-up days have all the warmth and flavor of the old fashioned barn raising because you are helping your neighbors and improving your neighborhood.

If you have a bit of fluid cash and would like to share, there are simple things you can do for the fun of sharing. Many people think they don’t need assistance or need to have treats in their life, but we all need pampering and others looking after us occasionally. Be kind and thoughtful in your sharing and caring, avoid forcing yourself on people, or getting into the “for your own good” sort of giving.

Have some extra money on hand when you go out to lunch or coffee? Buy a gift card and hand it to a friend who is struggling, or when you take your neighbor out, buy two gift cards, and hand one to the friend.

Keep extra gift cards in your wallet and hand restaurant or grocery store cards to homeless people warming up at the local lending library. If you are brave enough, hand them the card saying simply, “My treat”. If you are shy, make a sneak gift drop when they aren’t looking.

When you use a restaurant or coffee shop, pay double for what you had, and tell the cashier it’s for the next person they serve. If you see a family counting change to pay for their meal, pay their tab for them before they do.

A box of chocolates is a winner treat any time of year. They can be delivered by hand or ordered to be sent by mail.

Did you know for more than half of American households an unexpected expense of $400.00 can keep a family from being able to pay that month’s mortgage or utility bill? Yes, more than half of American households have an income of less than $30,000.00 a year even when employed. Most people living on a Social Security income have less than $15,000.00 a year. Long gone are the days of the 1940s – I’m remembering Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House – when a $15,000.00 a year income was not only considered upper middle class, it was enough income to build a nice new house.

If you wish to help somebody who has less than you but you don’t necessarily want them to know it is you helping, Covert Ops Assistance is a little trickier, but it can be done. Most utilities and banks are happy to take money from anybody toward anybody’s account. I asked. Both my commercial bank and my credit union said anybody can make a deposit into my account at any time for any reason in any amount. Taking it out of my account is a whole other story requiring ID, because even though you may have had the same financial institution for 15 years they have enough employee turn-over the staff might not know you from Adam. Utility companies don’t care who pays what for whom as long as they are paid. You can pay library fines for individuals. You don’t even need account numbers. You can also help random strangers, doesn’t have to be just friends or acquaintances.

If donating to an individual’s bank account or helping them pay utilities is not comfortable you can always hand them cash. You can simply tell the person the cash is a thank you for something they’ve done that you appreciated. Some of us are introverted enough even that is uncomfortable. What about a snail mail cash bomb? Wrap the cash inside another piece of paper so it is not identifiable from the outside, not in a greeting card and absolutely not a blank greeting card (how creepy!), and don’t use a return address. Imagine their surprise! Snail mail occasionally fails, however, so if you want an acknowledgment the cash was received you have to admit to sending it in some manner. It won’t hurt, I promise.

Of course you can always own up to the donation. There’s is nothing wrong with contributing to the well-being of another individual; we are all connected. You can be subtle, or encouraging, as well with remarks such as, “I’m glad the coat fits you so well” or “I had fun at coffee with you today, and I think you did too. Everybody deserves a treat now and then. Please use this card to enjoy another day with another person who would enjoy sharing with you” or “Thank you”. See? That’s not hard. Start where you are. Start at home. Simple.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Ivy, lichens, and moss, oh my. Fluted white lichens growing out of fat green moss cushions. Weather-grayed fence, green stalks, white lichens like tiny parasols. How I love rocks, a pile of whitish stones.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, rated PG – 13), a warrior steals a prized sword from a renowned swordsman, and adventure ensues in its recovery. All the warriors in this movie have mad defense and fighting skills; some of them even fly. (I have mad defense skills in my dreams, and I fly like them too). I chose to listen to the original Mandarin and used the English subtitles. * Finished the original Roots (1977, rated PG – 14). Realized I have embarked on a study of African-American films, having requested several of them from the local lending library. I’ll just watch them on through February, Black History Month. You can never learn enough about other cultures and other people. The more you learn, the more similarities you see.

Currently Reading – Ahhhh. Wintertime and a winter classic. What better on cold days when you don’t have to work, than snuggling into the couch with a blankie, a cup of hot tea, and a classic novel? Doesn’t matter if the housecleaning goes undone, it will still be waiting for you when the book is done. I am in an old manor house in the countryside of France, south of Paris and Le Mans in the late 1950s and a case of meeting a doppelgänger leads to exchanged identities in Daphne du Maurier’s The Scapegoat (1957, fiction). What would you do if you were thrown into a strange residence and family and family business and town and church and they all acted as if they had known you forever? * Learning To Be Old: Gender, Culture, and Aging (2003, aging and psychology) by Margaret Cruickshank. Introduction indicates many factors affect aging: the model is the dominant culture, i.e., the white middle-class male, yet more women of diverse backgrounds are surviving and doing the aging than men. We are going to investigate why older women become invisible.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • The little birds singing after the rainstorm. I wonder if there is something scientific that makes them sound so happy, or is it me anthropomorphizing them.
  • Waking up in the morning.
  • Getting any sleep at all.
  • Balmy 40 degree weather.
  • Not fretting about completing my to-do list, as it is ever expanding.
  • My car is repaired! Even better, it didn’t cost me a bundle.
  • The people who helped give me rides while the car was down for so long.
  • My broken toe finally feeling better and getting back to my regular exercise routines.
  • Sliding through senior moments.
  • Figuring out how to heat a microwave package of frozen rice on the stove top when the circuit to the microwave died.
  • Leftover jasmine rice with cream and mandarin oranges.
  • Disregarding the carbon footprint and enjoying some boxes of California strawberries. The tongue likes what the tongue likes.
  • Having kept the old espresso machine when it died the last time, digging it out of the archives, and finding it has a few more servings left in it when the “new” machine disintegrated.
  • Researching a new espresso machine so I can add it into the budget.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Simply Start At Home

  1. piratesorka says:

    That was a wonderful list of creative giving. Would you mind if I gave it out to my people? YAY for your fixed car! Now I need to buy one…so cross those fingers and toes for me! ” A blamy 40 degrees”?Well I guess so especially considering how cold the East Wind has terrorized us out here in the East country God Bless.

    Like

    • sassy kas says:

      Give?!? Share?!? Of course! Maybe challenge them to come up with other creative ways to give and share. And yes, I was being grateful we haven’t been hit with weather like back east, or even over there on the East side of the metro area like you are. Old enough now to be “weather-sensitive”. Ha.

      Like

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