Give a Little Love

Take a moment to smile and change the world – any small act of love. Last week I took all four children to the grocery store (I know that’s pretty crazy, right?) and typically my older two like to color pictures and give them as “gifts” to the unsuspecting check-out person. Well, at first I was irritated with myself because I chose the aisle with the crabby lady who wouldn’t crack a smile. My first thought: oh great, she’s going to ignore the pictures and the children will be upset. Note to self – address the situation later in the car. Luckily, my children didn’t notice her mood right away and enthusiastically handed her the colored pictures. The woman apprehensively grabbed the folded papers and assumed they were garbage. She was about to throw them away, but I explained the children made presents for her…and then I waited for her reaction…you will never believe it, but her entire mood changed. The lady loved the pictures and was extremely chatty and kind to the children after receiving the gifts. These little ones who were so excited to color a picture for the check-out person (even though they didn’t know her) completely turned this lady’s day around. I’m sure every nearby shopper heard my huge sigh of relief.

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This experience reaffirmed my belief that adults are jaded (yes, none of us are exempt). We rely too much on our emotions and creating lasting impressions. Adults are self-centered. We truly need to become more like little children and give ourselves completely to the happiness of others. I have heard many people question the deterioration of their own sanity by giving all of themselves to others. Let’s be honest, society constantly asks the same selfish questions day in and day out. “What have you done for yourself today?” “How will you reward yourself?” It starts again with the uncontrollable reward system. Let’s look at this from a different point of view. It’s about time that we love for the sake of loving and helping for the sake of offering unconditional love. Working together, we can create a unified community. The more love and attention I give to my children and husband, the less I focus on myself and interestingly enough, I am transported into a sublime state of happiness. My love has grown leaps and bounds for my family over the years. The more children we have, and the more I dedicate my entire being to the welfare of my family, the more I love them all. There’s an amazing never-ending supply of love. Don’t reserve that love for only close family and friends (even though they greatly deserve it), but spread it to all.

We will never regret loving another person, even if they aren’t receptive, but there will definitely be regrets if we never try. So, instead of “paying it forward” only around Christmas time or a few moments a year when social media reminds us; it’s time to give ourselves (all of ourselves) everyday. Every person deserves to be loved – family, friends, and strangers. We are social beings who desire love, so let’s unconditionally give that love, while also raising our children to do the same, because ultimately, what is life without love?

Bucket List of Unconditional Love

  •  Invite a friend/family member over for dinner who is lonely.
  • Bake your favorite cookies and drop them off at a neighbor’s house.
  • Pick a handful of flowers and visit an elderly relative.
  • Smile at a stranger everyday (you will never be happy in your own little bubble)/
  • Enjoy every  moment with your family and friends. You will never get a repeat. Those closest to us are sometimes the most difficult to love, but all the more reason to show them respect.

A Minimalist Season

I have a minimalist state of mind while we are living temporarily with family as we build our house. There isn’t much room for an overly decorative Christmas season this year, so I’m taking it slow and only focusing on the small things that matter. It’s all about simple living. So my goal for the month of December is to focus on giving – giving of myself, giving away things that my family doesn’t need, and giving love to others. Throughout this past year we have done a lot of purging while putting our house on the market, selling, and then moving. The most amazing lesson learned through all these crazy times is how much I don’t need on a daily basis. I have actually learned to love the small things more. Too many material items cause me anxiety. This might be since there is a ridiculous amount of items with a family of six, or maybe I’m just getting older and wiser…maybe…

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My goal may be a bit outlandish, but I hope to rid my life of the unnecessary items and keep Christmas more on a spiritual level rather than material. Honestly, the material aspect is exhausting. So here’s to a productive season of minimalism and spending time with the ones we love.

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Photo Credit: Michelle Cascio Photography

A Few Tips for a Minimalist Season of Advent.

 

1. Contemplate the Meaning of Christmas.

   This time of year isn’t only about ourselves, family, friends or even strangers. This time of year is about the birth of Christ. If we don’t focus on the Truth, then there is no purpose for this special day.

2. Simplify Your Life. 

This may include limiting your access to social media and increasing time within your day for reading, organizing, or helping others. You know better than anyone what consumes your time and yet doesn’t have much merit. Spend more time with family and friends, these are the moments that you will remember when you get older and the kids are grown. Don’t have regrets!

3. Don’t Purchase Anything You Don’t NEED!

     Yes, we know this is difficult this time of year, but our consumerism mentality is overbearing. (Maybe this is one of the reasons I cannot stand Black Friday, or Black Saturday, or Cyber Monday…) For me, it will be difficult to drive past Starbucks without a Skinny Peppermint Mocha, but instead of spending the money there, I can donate food to the local pantry or purchase gifts for families in need. That cup of Peppermint Mocha will be so much more enjoyable on December 26th by waiting!

4. Internal and External Silence.

     We all have loud, busy, chaotic schedules 12 months out of the year. Maybe these days of Advent we can occupy ourselves internally and externally with moments of silence. Take a few minutes out of each day, even 5 minutes to sit in silence. Don’t try to plan your next party, or dwell on all the gifts you have to purchase, but enjoy those moments of silence. They are more important than you realize.

5. Keep Perspective – Pay it Forward

     Charity is the highest form of respect for others. Whether you give a meal to the homeless man standing on the corner or choose to give your waiter an extra percentage of a well-earned tip, these are the moments that make living worth while, because for once you are not making it about yourself. The most important thing to remember: don’t brag about it. Once you tell the world your inner most actions, those beautiful forms of charity begin to loose bits of their luster.