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Category: the blog (page 2 of 13)

Have You Done Your Good Deed for the Day?

Do you remember good deeds? Do you remember the idea of doing one each day?

When I was a kid, it was a commonplace term that I heard the grownups toss around: “I gave my neighbor a ride to the airport, so I’ve done my good deed today.” “Go help your cousin with his homework and that will count as your deed for the day.”

Where have all the good deeds gone? I came across the term after I’d fallen down a Google rabbit hole this morning and I thought, ‘wow, I can’t remember the last time I heard that.’

Many of us are doing good deeds and simply not calling them as such, or not pointedly checking them off our daily to-do lists. I know many fine Openers-of-Doors-for-Others and Helper-Outers and Guidance-Givers, so I know there are good deeds being done, accepted, thanked and celebrated.

But.

Let’s do more; let’s start each day asking ourselves how we can put more warmth, laughter, empathy and joy into the world.

Let’s make good deeds a priority again: let’s put them on our to-do lists and treat them like our other important tasks. Because they are important; they’re the substance of this life we’re living.

So make them happen. Daily.

 

PS – I’m not the only one who wants to revive the idea of the Good Deed for the Day. There is an annual celebration of this very thing, called Good Deeds Day. The next one is March 15, 2015 – mark your calendars.

 

How will you do a good deed each day? Tell me.

 

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Grief and Remembering Lost Loved Ones During the Holidays

A close family friend presented my mom with a crystal vase for her 50th birthday, which was not too long before she died. Her 50th birthday was a miracle: she was terminally ill and had not expected to make it to the age of 34.  Since my mom passed, our little makeshift family keeps her vase on a table in the dining area, and it’s filled with things like eggs or ornaments or pine cones to celebrate each of the major holidays. The vase is never really a centerpiece but, because it’s nearby for our most cherished dinners, it feels like my mom is there with us. The grief is still there but so is a sense of comfort, because we include her.

If you have lost a loved one, you know that holidays can be reminders of the voids we feel, the silence we hear, the hands we can’t hold. Read 5 Tips for Facing Grief During the Holidays, and remember what the author, Kristen Lamb, says:

 …you are NOT alone. There is an empty seat at my table too.

 

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Stop Waiting for It

Robert Brault Quote

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Spend Love Not Money

Don’t worry, this isn’t financial advice. Well, actually, it is – but it’s not the kind that requires you to use your math brain. The finances aren’t even the point, really. The point is that we have much more to give than store-bought gifts, and that giving things like a helpful hand, an attentive ear or a heartfelt hug can mean more to those we care about than a designer scarf or an ereader. So, this holiday season, let’s all focus on increasing the spirit of joy and community rather than just propping up the gross domestic product with our most recent paychecks.

How can you decrease spending and add more meaning this holiday season?

 

Video: Stephanie Halligan of The Empowered Dollar

 

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Simplify: Say No

The holidays are here. It’s time to add shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, party-attending and my personal least-favorite: endlessly circling the mall looking for parking, to our already-packed to-do lists. ‘Tis the season of overcommitment.

Don’t let your Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) list run your life: prevent your holiday cheer from turning into disgruntled stress by simplifying this holiday season. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits just published a blog post about this very thing. He says it takes a mere 5-10 minutes of asking yourself questions to simplify your goals and commitments for the holiday season – and thus maintain sanity.

My favorite piece of advice from his blog was this:

“Set arbitrary limits and force yourself to make choices. Adjust the limits if absolutely necessary, but don’t just widen the floodgates because you don’t want to choose. Choose, and your life will get simpler. Say no to the rest…”

Choose. Say no. These are two actions that we tend to struggle with, because they often mean that we’ll disappoint someone. It should be common sense but it’s not: We. Can’t. Do. It. All. To thrive in the pursuits that are important to us and to nurture the relationships that support us, we have to choose and we have to say no.

Read Leo’s post, 5 Questions to Simplify Your Life During the Holidays, and ask yourself the questions.

What will you say no to? How will it help you say yes to something else more important? Tell me below.

Image: Courtney Dirks via Flickr Creative Commons

 

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Starfish by Eleanor Lerman

Embark on the day with gratitude and cherish each tiny thing that life lets you do. Even the mundane is a gift, because it’s yours.

Poem featured courtesy of Academy of American Poets.

 

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Silence Is the Residue of Fear

Our voices can be our most powerful resources or our worst downfalls. Take four minutes to be reminded why you should always – always – use your words, speak clearly, tell your truth. Silence is heavy; words take flight.

 

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Fall in Utah

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

- F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

The white curtain of winter will be falling soon, yet I’m still mesmerized by my first fall in Utah. The aspen trees have turned a vivid yellow, and the sun slips away before dinner is on the table. When it gets a little windy, the leaves pull away from the trees and dance a quick-step through the air until they settle upon the grass. I’ve already unpacked my sweaters and scarves to fend off the crisp morning temperatures.

IMG_4544rev

This is my first time experiencing fall as a living metamorphosis of Mother Nature rather than just a flip of the calendar; we didn’t really have fall in Southern California. And despite the chill and the shorter days that hint at the long winter just ahead, I enjoy seeing the trees and grasses changing from green to golden, the flowers folding into themselves.

20140914_170737It’s a reminder that all this life is cyclical, nothing is permanent.

It’s a reminder to enjoy the colors at their most vivid – so that when they fade, we will miss them with a bittersweet sentimentality rather than feel the regretful ache that comes with the realization that we failed to take them in when we had the chance.

It’s a reminder that what seems like the world right now may only be a prelude to something even grander.

Wish you were here,
Lis

 

 

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Saint Francis de Sales Quote

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