Throwback: An Act of Kindness

No-Act-of-Kindness-Is-Wasted  This post first appeared in 2015..

Today’s blog was inspired by Lori Deschene….

As we approach the last few shopping days till Christmas, I have noticed a few things: tempers are shorter, people are in a hurry, while store employees are tired and feeling unappreciated.  The happiest time of the year has become the “let’s just get through this season”.  No, I am not being Negative Nelly just stating some observations while I was out shopping the other night.

The holiday season has taken on a new meaning for me.  I can’t explain it – hubby would say it is old age.  LOL.  I have found myself NOT just getting a gift because I need to get something.  I am NOT spending tons of money to show how I feel about someone.  I have found myself showing compassion and understanding more than ever before. I am surprised at their response.

Over the years, I have been shown kindness in many ways from friends and family but the kindness of strangers has taught me lasting lessons.  Think about it as you check out at the register.  Smile and greet the cashier.  Ask them how they are doing.  Maybe give someone a tip that they weren’t expecting.

They all have struggles, and dreams, and goals, and responsibilities, and they too could benefit from someone showing them patience, kindness, and understanding if they’re a little slow or less than friendly.

The other day I was with hubby as he stopped for gas.  He ALWAYS pays cash.  The total was $16 and he told the attendant to keep the change.  Okay, so $4 isn’t a big deal but the smile that spread across the attendant’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t thank us enough.  A random act of kindness made a difference in someone’s day.

The world is a better place when we see people beyond their nametags, and visualize everyone as someone who truly is doing their best.

We’re all a little scared and a little rough around the edges.

We’re all looking for love, support, acceptance, and appreciation.

And we can all get and give these things every day, one tiny act at a time.

Has the power of tiny acts of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance made a difference in your own life?  Here are some suggestions from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges of small acts that we can all do:

Be patient and understanding with people who serve you, especially if they have a lot of customers to tend to.

Compliment someone who serves you in some way (for example, a waiter, barista, or bus driver) on how well they do their job.

Empathizing instead of criticizing is a big thing. Getting up to help instead of sitting back and judging is a big thing.

Keep an eye out for someone who looks sad—a friend, coworker, or even stranger—and say something that might make them laugh or smile.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but sometimes the tiny things are the big things.  And it’s big things like these that help us all feel seen, appreciated, and loved—and far happier for it.

What Random Act of Kindness will you do today?  Share it with us and let us all celebrate the spirit of Christmas this holiday season.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Never Forget

  It is Monday morning and we should be heading to Royal Carribean’s Majesty of the Sea for 5 glorious days of my pink bubble. Irma has had other plans and I am home reflecting on so many things…

It is a morning filled with lots of emotion…as a nation, we honor those who were lost on 9-11.  We continue to struggle with the evil which plaques our nation.  We mourn for those lost and honor those whose lives have forever been changed.   This day is one of few memories which I can clearly remember…  I remember as if it were yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ.  We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks.  Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Edythe

September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011 when Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend  and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie). When I was younger, they were my babysitters.  As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

The words describing those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Life seems to be full of moments which ask us to let go when we long to hold on.  I don’t know what you face right now, what season of life you’re in, but my prayer for you is simple and from the heart. May you know the comfort and strength of the One whose love will never fail you, and whose mercies are new every single morning!

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

How to Maneuver Difficult Converations

timthumb-phpWoohoo Wednesday is all about how to grow personally which will help us to grow professionally whether you are a business owner or not.

Think about the most successful person you know.  Visualize them?  Got the picture?  Do they have the most talent you have seen?  Did they go to college and have the highest test scores?  Do they have a degree from an Ivy League school?  Or, did they earn their success because of their way with words?

The truth is some of the most successful people are a success because they learned how to talk differently – to others, and to themselves.  They conquered the toughest skill of all –  the art of navigating a difficult conversation.  Do they sweat or worry? Or do they effortlessly talk about topics which would utterly stress you (and others) out?  I am in awe how they manage to maneuver through these mine fields without even a scratch.

I wondered how they did it so I went on a hunt to see if I could find out….

Here are six things successful people do differently when they have something hard to say.

Consider what conversation you need to have and

1. Plan it out.

Think about the outcome you want from the conversation. Then stay focused so you don’t get distracted by emotions. This is the tough part for me.  I tend to cry at the drop of a hat – not good in difficult conversations.  Write your key points. Decide how you want to say them. How do you want to end the conversation?

2. Have compassion.

Speak with respect and kindness. See it from the other side, not just your own. Remember it is not all about you.  What do they want? What are they feeling? Acknowledge those things. Hard conversations don’t have to be ugly as long as you are being compassionate when telling the truth.compassion-2

3. Get it over with.

When you need to have tough discussions, do you delay them?  It is the worse thing to do.  The longer you wait, the more stress.  When you stress and wait, all of these tips are useless.  Have the conversation because when you do, you will be able to bless and release.

4. Talk more than you type.

How often would you rather hide behind a keyboard then have the difficult conversation?  This is not the way to approach a difficult conversation.  WHY?  because it is important to have the back-and-forth interaction, sense the tone of the voices, and see the body language.  These are things you can’t convey in texts or emails.   Have a face to face (or phone conversation if in-person isn’t realistic) conversation.

5. Know listening is a form of speaking.

Listening is key to any conversation but letting others feel like they are being heard is extremely important in difficult conversations.  People can see their value in your eyes when you are listening.  I’m not saying to skirt around the points you want to make, just be sure to listen, too.  What did our mothers always say?  God gave us two ears and one mouth so we could listen MORE and talk less.

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6. Question your fear.

FEAR!  It stops us dead in tracks most most of the time.  Having tough conversations is not different.  Fear usually keeps up from moving forward on so many things.  It is not a stop sign. It does not mean we should not move forward.  Use the PAUSE as an opportunity to question your fear.  What are you afraid will happen if you have this conversation? How will you handle the reaction or response?  How can you have the conversation without having an unwanted outcome?  Face the fear and refuse to allow it to silence you by making a plan to deal with it.

So, who are you afraid to have a difficult conversation with?  What are the key points you want to say and how do you want the conversation to end?  Share with us and we will help you fight the fear…

Thank you Valerie Burton for these tips.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

How To Express Gratitude

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~William Arthur Ward

You are probably thinking this is a crazy subject for a blog during the holiday season, right?  I mean it is a time of giving.  The truth is there is a difference between giving and gratitude.

Did you know by practicing gratitude you can be healthier, less stressed, and more optimistic?  It can even  have positive effects on your career and relationships.

We easily embrace gratitude when things are going well, but what about during the difficult times.  Over the last few years, I have shared my struggles with the diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder and MS.  Some days, I struggle with gratitude.  I struggle to find the good.  I am blessed with friends, and family members, who treat me with kindness, love, and compassion – something I know isn’t  always easy on those bad days.

I have learned to turn my attention from the negative where I dwell on my fears to asking myself: What can I be thankful for? Who can I thank today?”  The more I focus on gratitude, the less time I have to focus on my worries.

No matter whether you’re on one of life’s highs or one of it’s lows, you have a great deal to gain by sharing your appreciation with the world. Here are some of ideas:

1. Like every post on friends’ social media feeds

I know this sounds silly, right?  It is an easy way to express gratitude.  Those notifications can mean a lot to people and, unless you disagree with what’s being said in the post, why not show your appreciation for the person who shared it by giving it a thumbs-up or a heart?

2. Forgive someone who has hurt you

When you forgive someone who has hurt you (with or without an apology), you’re essentially expressing gratitude for the experience and for the opportunity to experience compassion for someone else.  Forgiveness does not condone the wrongdoing but it gives you a chance bless and release your resentment and anger.

3. Make and share a list of someone’s good traits

Every time you notice something wonderful about someone else, write it down. When you have a nice little list gathered, share it with him or her to express how thankful you are for his or her wonderful traits. Don’t keep those thoughts to yourself!

4. Share your positive reviews with others

How many times have you complained to a store manager or restaurant or write an online review because of a bad experience and want to vent about it? What if you shared every positive experience you had with a product or service? Leaving positive reviews and telling managers about positive employees is a fantastic way to express gratefulness.

5. Put your phone away when you’re with people

I can see the eyes rolling now!  The best way to express your gratitude to others is to be fully present in their presence.  I know how hard this can be. Try your hardest to put your phone away when you’re interacting with others. Doing so will allow you to be more appreciative of the experiences you have with them.

6. Pick up and throw away litter when you see it

This is BIG picture gratitude. If you’re not spending time appreciating, and caring for, the world around you, you’re missing out on a great gratitude opportunity.  Picking up litter when you see it, is a small act, but if we all did it, the world would be a much better and cleaner place.

7. Teach someone about something new

Everyone has unique skills and talents. Whether it’s something small or big, we all have something we can share with others.  Sharing what we know allows us to show we value them enough to teach them something, but it also is a chance for us to be grateful for our personal knowledge and skills.

Whether you choose to express gratitude using one of the creative gratitude tips or not, it’s my hope you’re inspired in some way to think outside the box when it comes to showing appreciation for the people and experiences in your life.

Gratitude is one of the greatest ways to make your world a happier place, and the more you practice it, the more things you’ll find to be grateful for.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Let’s Give Thanks

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Today is filled with mixed emotions…as usual, I am crying tears of joy and gratitude mixed with tears of sadness.

I am blessed today, Belinda and Ashley are back in Jersey to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  It is a short trip but a chance to spend a holiday with the girls just the same.  We will watch the Macy’s parade then head to dad’s for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I struggle with memories of years gone filled with high school football games, homecoming floats, dinner at Grams with the entire family.  As the years past, lives changed and so did family dynamics.

I am blessed in so many ways.  I am blessed to have a supportive hubby who is constantly searching for solutions to my health issues.  I am grateful Rob’s health is better and we will enjoy Thanksgiving together.  I am grateful that my family is healthy.  The year has been filled with many trials which have all been blessings in disquise

Thirty One has blessed my life too.  Who would have thought 5 plus years ago, a $99 kit would make such a difference in my life.  A growing business with an amazing team of women who continue to amaze me with their strength and friendship. An income which allows me not to work full-time and a multitude of awesome women who have gone from customers and hostesses to friends.  The greatest blessing is to be able to share with those who are struggling giving back to our community.

Words can’t express how grateful I am today and every day.  My wish is each of you have a blessed Thanksgiving – enjoying the time with your friends and family. Cherish the moments for all the years to come.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Gwen Smith…

Dear Lord:

We come with hearts of gratitude today to bless Your name and to ask that Your hand of blessing would be upon us. THANK YOU, Father, for loving us with an eternal love that stands firm, even when we are unlovable. THANK YOU for being faithful, righteous, holy and just, yet willing to see us, Your children, through divine eyes of compassion, mercy, forgiveness and grace. THANK YOU for being a God of restoration and renewal in the midst of a broken, pain-filled world. THANK YOU for providing for our needs, directing our paths, and establishing our steps.

We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Lord, and freshly submit to Your will today. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our children, grandchildren, marriages, families, and loved ones. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our country, president, governors, senators, representatives, and local officials. We ask Your BLESSING and GUIDANCE over our communities, churches, schools, work places, decisions, and opportunities. Please FILL US with the presence of Your joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, and self control today. HELP US to see as You see and to love as You love. HELP US to serve others humbly for the sake of Your name. HELP US to be light that shines in the darkness. HELP US to follow Your ways and continually seek Your leading.

You are our hope and our strength, Lord. We give you THANKS in all of this and ask for the fullness of Your BLESSING in all these things, according to the power of Jesus Christ who is at work within us through Your Holy Spirit.

Amen

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Thanksgiving!