All the Small Kindnesses

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We have a very long driveway.  In the city it would be the length of one long block.  It had one to two feet of snow in any given place so our cars just couldn’t get up the dirt path the last few snowstorms.  Our car along with our housemate, David’s, stayed parked along the road until we could get back in.  Yesterday we came home late, ready to bundle up the baby and load all of our things on our backs to hike up the driveway.  But lo, there was an amazing sight.  The driveway had been plowed.  I could not believe my eyes.  There under the twinkling stars and icy air sat a perfectly plowed block long stretch.

No one knows where we live.  And David is very private so it wasn’t anyone any of us knew.  Just a random act of kindness.  It meant so much yet there is no one to thank.  The only way to show gratitude is to pass it on.

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I write about ways to spontaneously add joy to others’ lives.  I think it is so important that we stay strong in our support for others, even if we do not know them.  Perhaps today compliment five people.  Say a prayer for a family.  Buy the person’s coffee in front of you.  Don’t tailgate.  Smile and greet folks.

A few days ago we pulled into a parking space at a shopping center.  We got out at the same time as the girl next to us.  Her hair was lovely.  I always liked the pixie cut and lamented that I could never pull it off.  It was streaked red and grey in soft curls.  I told her that I LOVE her hair!  She sighed, then beamed a brilliant smile and said that I have no idea how much that means to her.  She is going through chemotherapy and just recently had to cut off all of her beautiful long hair.  She said again how much that meant to her and how we just don’t realize how much our words mean.

Use your heart out there today and don’t be afraid to say nice things to people that you meet.  The smallest kindness can mean so much.  Spread the love and cheer of this time of year!

 

Winter Doldrums (staying inspired, spreading the love, great books and movies)

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This is a farmer’s time for rest and regeneration.  To allow our bodies the much needed extra time they screamed for last October.  To sit another minute in front of a sunny window, to read the books we wrote down so that we wouldn’t forget, to see the movies we missed because we couldn’t get to the theater (and renting is cheaper anyway).  We eat good, we sit longer, we find our friends that we missed in the summer!

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In the summer it’s all go-go-go!  Go to sleep, wait…get up!  Market, water, harvest, preserve, teach classes, make product, go to bed!  In the winter we have more time to think.  We learn more skills, read about new ways of doing things, think about what we want for the year.  I also have time to notice and work on emotional health and happiness.  I noticed that every time I looked at Facebook I became livid, would snap at Doug, would waste time thinking about responses.  Most people just share and post things without giving any thought to validity or seeing all sides.  They just post emotional, volatile, usually false articles and comments.  I was picking up way too much anxiety over it.  Movies would sink in more leaving me to either feel sad or stressed.  I listlessly thumbed through books then took them back to the library.  I was picking up the negativity all around me.  Even in my beautiful snow globe of a world out here, if I checked the internet, I was suddenly seething.

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We are meant to be empathetic and to understand others’ thoughts and emotions so that we may help them.  But the internet and media has opened up a whole new world of overwhelming information.  Our human bodies were never meant to take on the problems of the world.  We can barely take care of our own!  News from around the world that we have no control over, articles written from a skewed viewpoint, frustrated and complaining posts on social media, sad dramatic movies, only bad news in the press, it is enough to climb under a rock and hide!  Or snap at your husband over.

Our main source of positivity, Maryjane, our adorable and spunky granddaughter!

Our main source of positivity, Maryjane, our adorable and spunky granddaughter!

So, what can we do?  We can add more positivity into the atmosphere.  The more we add, the less negativity there is, the odds that the person you enlightened will spread it around are good, and by shutting out or buffering the negative, the more positivity can come in..

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We watched a great movie last night that I found at the library.  Based on a true story and very cheer worthy, “The Mighty Macs” was fun and enlightening.  A story about a girls basketball team, a private college, a bunch of supportive nuns, and a coach in the making, we were smiling the whole movie.

I removed a few people from my friends list on Facebook and I have more to take off.  I don’t have to read the feed either.  I can just post my blog, see what my closest are doing, and then get the heck off!  I can read inspiring information.

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I just started the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, not because I am unhappy, but because there are habits I could do to embrace more happiness.  When you are happy, it spreads.

Some things we can all do, please comment on your ideas, favorite books, movies, and inspirational materials…

1. Random acts of kindness.

My daughter was in the second hand store picking out clothes for her baby.  When she took them to the register, they were already paid for by a stranger.  For Emily, this really was an amazing gift as she doesn’t have very much money.

I don’t either but perhaps sending a homemade gift when it’s not a holiday or birthday.  Or adding a bigger tip than usual to a check.  Or sending a card.

I also love to compliment people.  I am kind of an introvert but telling someone they look lovely or that I like what they are wearing, or whatever strikes me (not making things up, but telling them what I notice) always brings a surprise smile to complete stranger’s faces.  This is important because that compliment could have negated the effect of an aggressive driver, a sick parent at home, or a fight with a spouse.  Who knows what folks are going through, just spread love.

2. Read inspiring works.

I loved Christmas at Rose Hill Farm; an Amish Love Story so much.  It had elements of the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, well researched information on roses, and a beautiful story written with colorful characters and lovely prose.  That was the last book I completed.

Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie series, Under the Tuscan Sun series, anything by Jenna Woginrich, and many others top my list of favorite books.

What are books you recommend?

3. Watch inspiring films.

We recently watched “How to Train Your Dragon, 2” and loved it.  “The Mighty Macs” was great.  “Maleficent” was much better than anticipated and had a fabulous story line.  I highly recommend it.

What movies do you recommend?

What will you do today to spread more light in the world?

The Magical Homestead (and spreading positivity)

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We have moved to the most beautiful place on Earth, I am certain.  I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have been given such a gift.  It is a different world out here.

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The certain way the prairie hills undulate and the distance from neighbors makes it feel very much like we are alone out here, the sky seems to fall at a curve leaving us to believe we are ever in a snow globe.

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The chickens are snug in their warm coop and the goats look like abominable snowmen with their thick fleece.  The views from their pens are utterly graceful and lovely.

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I have found myself wanting to stay in this marvelous time capsule forever.  To breathe in fresh air and hear nothing but wildlife rustling in the brush.  Snow shaking softly from trees.

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Today we are taking a little trip though.  A ride through the mountains to our favorite hot springs in Idaho Springs.  Just a daytime jaunt.  A bit over a year ago my favorite graduating class gave me a gift certificate there and I can’t wait to feel the warm mineral waters on my skin.

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The world has seemed a mite colder as of late.  So much negativity.  Today won’t you join me and consciously put out solely positivity into the social media world and in your meetings with people?  How many compliments shall we give unbidden?  I think I will give four to strangers.  The world is a wonderful place, let us add to the magic and spread joy.

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(Doug captured some beautiful scenes in our yard, don’t you think?)