Each of us can impact the lives of others……without costing us a penny.

Often we don’t know the struggles someone is going through. Therefore, never underestimate the incalculable impact that the smallest kindness, or a warm smile can have, to remind and encourage others that they are important to the world; bringing hope to those who are desperate to believe that someone cares.

Kindness is contagious. One kind act can ignites a spark that creates a wildfire spreading across the community, as recipients ‘pay forward’ the kindness they received. Imagine the impact if each of us would ‘pay forward’ every kindness we see, by doing something unexpected, to help another person experience the goodness in the world.

Truly miraculous things happen when we perform altruistic acts in secret. While you may do something kind and not even remember it, it may be the very thing that causes the other person’s life to turn, in some positive way.

Each of us CAN make a difference, by being generous with kindness. God’s work; your hands.

“To the world you may be just somebody, but to somebody you just might be the world.”- unknown

It is not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of person you are. Scatter kindness around like confetti.

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 BEING KIND POSITIVELY AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH

Research shows the acts of kindness and compassion that we do for others, while expecting nothing in return, is proven to elevate one’s mood. Altruism creates hormones, such as epinephrine, dopamine and serotonin which generate a positive feeling of satisfaction and well-being. It affects physical health by lowering the risk of illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis, decreasing depression, improving sleep and self-confidence. And thanks to oxytocin, it also slows aging! Doing nice things for others helps us find our sense of purpose, the secret to happiness.

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ThOUGHTS ABOUT KINDNESS

  • Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others. – Danny Thomas
  • You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. -James D. Mills
  • Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it Hebrews 13:2

 

Posted in All in Fun, Blessings, Honoring Veterans, Inspiration, Kindness, Make a Difference Day, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day for widows | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Oklahoma State Treasurer May Be Holding Money for You or Someone You Know. (See if your town is already on here

NEW!! UPDATED LINK (BELOW) TO HELP YOU ‘DIG DEEPER’ TO FIND  YOUR PROPERTY!

If your town is not yet on this list read below the list.

If your city is not, yet, listed above you can bookmark this page and come back later…..or even better….go here and we will show you how you how to uncover your money NOW.

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‘What goes around, comes around’….

Whether you find money today….or in the future…please consider doing an act of kindness  in secret, for someone to help us  create a domino effect of kindness in our community. Eventually the kindness you show to others will come back around to you.   And everyone wins when that happens!

A KINDNESS FOR  SOMEONE WHO IS ALONE  Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th), is a day many are left out when alone.  Yet, a Valentine card (even  one drawn by a child), a flower, cookies, a balloon, or candy will warm one’s heart.

Many who are alone don’t go out at night as they can’t chance having car trouble. Offering them a ride to an evening event so they don’t come home alone to a dark house, or to church or changing a lightbulb, even a quick call or text to check on them, or to see if they need you to bring them anything from the store (especially in cold or wet weather) are a few if things so appreciated.

  • Every one of us  know someone who is widowed, yet, most of us are clueless regarding what a widowed person goes through…until sadly, someday in the future we find ourselves there. FACT: widows lose 75% of the friends they had as a couple when their loved one passes. People tend to avoid widows fearing they will accidentally mention the deceased loved one, but the reality is they might cry tears of happiness to know that someone remembers; that they haven’t been forgotten! Click for more  secrets widowers and widows won’t tell you. 
  • A Heart for the Widowed  is a project to remember those ‘left behind’. (Check out the post about ‘Stone Soup‘.)
  • Across the U.S., churches are now using the ‘Stand in the Gap’ program for widows, which requires very little involvement from pastoral staff (since pastors are so busy!)   It would be a wonderful act of kindness to help get the program started in your church….and there is no charge for the program. Even widows can help start this as an act of kindness for other widows.  More information about Stand in the Gap.

Please share this page with your friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, fellow church members, your boss, etc. If they find money, they are going to  love you for sharing.

Posted in Money Found, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

A Simple Way to Bring People together

A hungry stranger, looking for food and lodging, stopped in a village and knocked on the door of a house. Too proud to beg for a meal, he requested a large container in which he could make a tasty soup; offering to share when it was done.

The widow who lived there filled a large pot with water and set it over a fire in the village square. When it came to a boil the stranger reached deep into his pocket, bringing out a large, yet smooth and well-cleaned stone that he dropped into the vessel.

He asked if she might have a little salt to add. After sprinkling in the salt, he tasted the soup, closed his eyes,and with a big smile proclaimed it exquisite, but looking puzzled  said it seemed to need just a little of something else.

The widow, herself often hungry, willing to share what little she had with the stranger, rushed back home to get some of what was left of the cabbage, which had been the bulk of her meager meals lately.

The stranger explained to a curious villager who asked what he was doing that he was making a wonderful tasting soup, which he would be delighted to share with him, but was a bit embarrassed as it still needed a little something else to improve the flavor. The villager volunteered to bring carrots from his garden.

A local resident, returning from the post office, hearing that the stranger was making a delicious soup, offered a couple of potatoes. A maid for the area’s wealthiest family was on her way home from work carrying a small amount of meat for her supper that her employer gave her from his daughter’s wedding feast the night before. Another brought onions, saying you must have plenty of onions in a really good soup.

As word spread villagers brought whatever ingredients they had to to enrich the bubbling soup; a few beans, some garlic, cilantro, a little cauliflower, spinach, and ripe tomatoes. A second widow’s eyes lit up when she heard what all the excitement was as she had broccoli she was more than happy to share with the stranger. This continued with the neighborhood baker bringing a loaf of crusty bread, from the daily ration he and his family were living on, due to a downturn in business. There was much laughter among the villagers as they visited with neighbors they had never met and those they had known for years.

Finally with a broad smile the stranger announced the mouthwatering and nutritious pot of soup was ready.

Friends, both old and new, sat together enjoying the camaraderie and shared success of the flavorful and filling soup. Humming softly to himself, the stranger carefully washed and dried the well-worn stone which he had removed from the soup, before placing it gently back in his pocket for the next village.

Moral:
We all have something we can share with others and it will always come back to bless us.
Cooking together and sharing a healthy meal is a simple, yet, wonderful way to build community.

The most well-known of meals that Jesus shared:

Loaves and Fishes Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9:10-17, Mark 8:1-13, Matthew 15:32-39, John 6:1-71

The Last Supper: His last meal with His disciples (Matt. 26:17–30, Mark. 14:12–26, Luke. 22:7–39 and John. 13:1–17:26).

Posted in A heart for the widowed, All in Fun, Cooking, Great ideas!, Hungry Elderly, Hungry elders, Hungry Seniors, Inspiration, Make a Difference Day, Making Changes, Neighbors, Oklahoma, Oklahomans helping Oklahomans, Sharing, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day for widows, volunteers, Widow, Widowed, Widower, widowers, Widows, You can make a difference | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Gifts of Experience For Christmas and Other Gift Giving Days

Gifts of Experience are in. Boring gifts that kids play with for 10 minutes, lose interest in and are left to clutter the house (and wasting money) are so ‘yesterday’.

Gifts of Experience build memories family members will cherish for a lifetime.

A “one-on-one” Day with Grandma buildings strong relationships by getting to know each other better, without anyone or anything taking your attention away. Quality time spent bonding this way while the child is young almost guarantees grandkids will enjoy time with Grandma when they are young adults. Spending the night (one at a time) is a favorite for kids as well as for grandparents.

Why not give the child something to look forward to, after Christmas Day is over, instead of the usual “day after Christmas” letdown? Anticipation of an upcoming experience fosters happiness on its own, making the actual event even more fun! A gift of experience is actually the gift of time…..and it benefits both the giver and the recipient.

Make a list of things they can choose from on ‘their’ special day’. A fun activity might be going out to split a 1/2 price malt at Sonic in the evening* or playing and enjoying a picnic in the local park with tuna sandwiches, some chips, a banana and a jug of tea allows you to take pictures of the day that will become a treasured memory. A trip to the grocery store to buy a brownie mix or to gather ingredients to make a simple peach cobbler, or popcorn with white chocolate to eat as you sit and visit. Fixing a meal together allows you to mentor as they learn something how to read a measuring cup (slyly teaching them fractions and kitchen skills such as how to easily peel an egg. FACT: kids will eat things they made, even if it was something they thought they hated before.

(*Explaining up front that you have enough money to get one, if you split it, is a learning experience for the child that makes them appreciate it more if they realize that it is even more special, since money is tight for you. It awakened a lifelong desire in our kids to not be greedy and to want to share with others so they both could enjoy.)

Set the date and get to planning in advance; jotting down things to teach/ tell/share with them on their day. Funny stories from your childhood, how to write in cursive, life skills such as how to make a bed or something you have learned to do.) What is something you enjoyed as a child and let them do it? Wading in the creek? Feeding ducks? Looking for fossils? Feeding a calf? Picking berries? Fishing? Skimming rocks?

Keep it simple.

Check for local nature areas/centers in your area, a local cave, and state parks. Get out and explore as you walk and look at the trees and see what treasures you find. Walking tours let your loved one see your town in a fresh way. Look in your town for historical sites, architecture tours, local attractions and museums.

THE BEST: Teach them to give back. A volunteer activity you do together can be an amazing gift. While giving them an experience they’ll remember, you’ll be fostering the kids’ budding compassion and empathy for others in need. Visit an assisted living facility or nursing home to bring some much needed light into the residents’ lives by distributing cards the little ones drew or deliver meals through Meals on Wheels, notes of encouragement for families with babies in the NICU, help with something at church, such as preparing a funeral meal for someone who lost a spouse. Teach them how important it is to think of others and how appreciated it is to a widowed person to be remembered on the hardest days….the loved ones birthday, their wedding anniversary, the anniversary of the loved ones passing and Valentines Day. This is a golden opportunity to teach them that it is ok to talk and share their own memories about the one who passed because it leaves the widow/widower with a new and warm memory to cherish that they didn’t have before.

Seeing how their kindness is appreciated and how good it makes them feel when someone smiles and says thank you they learn the value of always expressing gratitude to others so they, toom can feel good for what they have done. This give you the opportunity to share with them that when someone does or says something nice for them then they should find something nice for five others. It is called Pay it forward—and it eventually comes back around. The Bible calls it sowing and reaping. …whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6;

Afterglow…send them home with something, a book from a garage sale, a picture of grandpa they hadn’t seen before….the cream puffs you two made together to share with the family. Give from what you have at your home already as it will have more meaning than something everyone can buy at Walmart.

An experience gift gives them treasured memories, long after you are gone, and teaches them something they might even pass down to their own grandkids.

~

 

Research has found that if you spend the same amounts on an experience and a physical thing, the experience will make you happier in the long run. Be a minimalist when it comes to gifts, but maximalists when it comes to experience.

Posted in A heart for the widowed, All in Fun, Birthdays and Anniversaries, Christmas, Grandparenting, Great ideas!, Making Changes, Saving Money, Senior Citizens, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Ever feel like this at Christmas?

The media reports that almost 7 out of 10 people would like to stop giving Christmas  gifts. A large number say they would be interested in spending more time with family if there was no expectation of gifts.

CHRISTMAS IS A HUGE MONEYMAKER
Retailers  conduct more than 50% of their business at this time of year. Sales get more competitive and the merchandise even more tacky in the fourth quarter, as retailers seek to put their businesses in the black.

The excitement of Christmas is just one of the countless ways ‘Madison Avenue mentality‘ is used by businesses to manipulate us into spending our hard-earned money with them.

Some atheists and a number of Jews have a Christmas tree, according to a 2013 Pew survey.

A 2016 ING study found that 70% of Americans feel that Christmas is too focused on spending.

The non-stop shopping frenzy begins earlier every year, with each progressing year becoming more intense and overwhelming.

Tearing out early on Thanksgiving afternoon to join the mad stampede at crowded ‘churches-of-commerce’ (malls), to snatch the latest advertised sale deal and overspend on a silk blouse to mend a rift, taking time away from our families, and wasting money to lavish people with gifts that we can’t afford….all because a gift is expected.

The season is an excuse for  excesses: endless commercials, hearing dogs barking Jingle Bells, stressing over getting up all our gaudy decorations to spill off of the roof  into the yard,  days spent  in the kitchen cooking, and baking, which will be quickly devoured, once healthy trees chopped down and hauled into living rooms to be ‘oohed and aahed’ over for a few days until  are dragged to the curb for trash pickup, “ugly” sweaters, wreaths on the front of SUVs, felt antlers on pets; long lines at the post office, overindulging in fattening goodies shared by friends and families and wearing ourselves to a frazzle.

WHAT OFTEN HAPPENS TO THOSE GIFTS WE BOUGHT
While we don’t really have the time to shop we shop at every opportunity  in order to find the perfect gift, to exchange with people who rip into our carefully wrapped gifts and let us know with a look of distaste  that it isn’t what they wanted or it wasn’t enough. Tossed aside, tomorrow it will be shoved into an already cluttered closet to be forgotten, until  spring where it will be touting a bright orange $.50 garage sale sticker.

22% of Americans buy Christmas gifts on credit.

Americans waste $9.5 billion, or $71 per person, on unwanted gifts each year, according to a study from Finder.com.

We all have so much stuff that we don’t treasure everything.

MORE WASTE AT CHRISTMAS….
Tons of torn wrapping paper, boxes and bows  are pitched,  millions of trees are discarded and an enormous amount of electricity is used to show off those colorful displays of snowmen ice skating around the yard while Alvin and the Chipmunks sing and a smiling Santa waves from the roof   while his entire herd of reindeer circle around him.

Why not give gifts of experience?



WHY WE BUY INTO THE BELIEF THAT WE MUST EXCHANGE GIFTS

  • Society is a strong force in our lives. Many of us, desperate to fit in,  are concerned what others will think of us if we reject commercial madness of Wall Street.
  • Psychotherapists have said that some of us are just not skilled at sharing our love and gratitude with words.

Those who can’t buy as much for their loved ones are often embarrassed and ashamed. Sadness and depression often follows.

Feeling pressured, we lose the joy of gifting with  the obligatory gift-giving for our co-workers, hair stylist, mailman, child’s teacher, bus driver, neighbors,  etc.

Many of us struggle with how to address this ever growing mess of obligatory giving, mismatched expectations and the associated stress and depression.

Our giving spirit has been lost amidst the insanity of the excess and expectation of material trappings, yet we have been afraid to voice  that we are  tired of all the stressful Christmas gifting ritual,  for fear we will be called un-Christian.

Those who no longer participate in ‘obligatory gift giving’ say they have heard from many other family and friends who appreciate their bravery in speaking up. Now, with the complete absence of frenzy and pressure, there is the blessed gift of peace and quiet to just enjoy others and money is freed up for causes they believe in. There is time to count our blessings, show compassion, appreciate the people around us and express gratitude, thanking God for family, friends and health.

Although spending time and money to help those in need is not Wall Street’s idea of Christmas, giving voluntarily throughout the year to the those disenfranchised by the world can bring renewed hope to those who so desperately need it. The joy we receive by connecting with others bestows upon us a richer, deeper meaning of the season, as we get back much more than we give.

Articles written at Christmas about what people “should” be doing with their holiday shames people. On a  misdirected burst of generosity, suddenly 100 people show up Christmas Eve,  demanding to “help” by volunteering their time. Instead, why not reach out  to help others throughout the year.

We celebrate Christ by showing compassion to the poor— strangers, friends and families. Matthew 25:37-40

Today with so much excess in America, I pray to reach people honestly in need to help.
May God grant me eyes to  observe the world around me daily to see a  true need and a heart to help.

When we quietly help  others, without telling anyone (Matthew 6:2 ), there is no hegemony, no competition to outdo one another, no desire to show off, and no envy from others.

The best gift for children, which is superior to ‘stuff’ any day, is the experience of sharing with those in greater need.  Kids learn and appreciate the opportunity to give others joy and hope by compassion.

We can either give socks to someone who has everything, or to someone for whom it would mean the world: preschool children from low-income families, wearing worn-out shoes in the snow and the same dirty clothes for several days or a homeless teen who would be thrilled with a new package of underwear.

Giving of our time, instead can mean the world to someone, just by knowing that someone cares

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GIFTS 

“But, my church teaches that we give (and get) gifts to remember God’s gift to us, the birth of Jesus….” 

Do we really believe that the out of control commercialization of the Christmas season, which bears no resemblance to Christ, who was not even born on December 25th, is to celebrate the birth of Jesus?

Although God could have chosen any means of presentation for the radical birth of Christ His Son, the simplicity and lowliness of a manger was so as not to distract from God’s GIFT to us.

Those of us who fill our lives with objects that bring empty promises of joy and fulfillment are the needy. If we choose to receive this wonderful present, Christ’s presence can bring us freedom, humility, and joy, to which nothing else can compare.

The choice is ours.

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Helping others even when money is tight

Free gifts for Christmas

Posted in Christmas, Inspiration, Just wondering, Saving Money, Senior Citizens, You can make a difference | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments