Archive for December, 2011

Happy New Year JOLT’ers!

December 31st, 2011 | 1 comment

Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.

~Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~

Well, here we are.  The last day of 2011.  It has been a year filled with one little things.  Many blessings, with one of the biggest…. connecting with so many fellow JOLT’ers who, like me, want to forge a life of gratitude in this messy, imperfectly beautiful world of ours.

I wanted to take a moment to say thank for joining me on the journey.  Each day, I ask a simple question.

What’s your one little thing today?

And, I can honestly say that I learn from each of your answers. You never disappoint.  Some answers are funny, some serious, all are 100% honest.

You are all teaching me, and in more ways than you can every understand, you help me continue on the path of happiness.  Your shared wisdom  confirms that we are all on a similar path, and we are all connected.

So, thank you for both your participation and your friendship.  I hope that 2012 brings you an abundance of one little things, and we continue to refocus our lives on gratitude in our

ever-growing Just One Little Thing community.

I will leave you with a cute song I just love….

Happy New Year!

Kelly

More Measures of Love From JOLT’ers…

December 30th, 2011 | no comments
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain ~

Do more than belong: participate.

Do more than care: help.

Do more than believe: practice.

Do more than be fair: be kind.

Do more than forgive: forget.

Do more than dream: work.

~William Arthur Ward~

Measures of Love.  So many measures of love from JOLTer’s all over this big beautiful planet of ours.  Here’s just a few:

  • Mary from British Columbia decided that she was going to volunteer at a battered women’s shelter twice a month.  She’s been thinking about it for a while now, but decided to finally take the leap and do it in honor of her mother, who was a battered woman.
  • Cora decided to clean out her closets and donate all the excess she takes for granted to people who need it.  She wanted to do this in honor of her friend, who was the most giving person.
  • Tom baked cookies….not the best cookies as he explained, but cookies just the same.  And brought them to his neighbor, who doesn’t smile too much. He did it to honor his neighbor’s wife, who passed away eight months ago.
  • Emma wrote a letter to her Mom, telling her how much she loved her, and appreciated her strength.
  • Ryan donated money for cancer research, in memory of his sister.
  • Desiree and her best friend delivered Christmas dinners to those who needed it.
  • Annette created this beautiful video in memory of her daughter, in the hopes of bringing peace to others who may also be hurting.

And that is just a sample of the kindness that is rippling around in the last hours of 2011.  What a great way to start a new year.  Don’t forget, you can always pass along your own measure of love…

Kelly

Libby’s Measure of Love…

December 27th, 2011 | no comments

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

~Lao Tzu~

If you’ve been following along, you know that I have asked all of you to “Share your Measure of Love.” I will be sharing some of the responses this week from JOLT’ers just like you who decided to take something painful and turn it into an opportunity to share some love.  It is a simple challenge really.  Instead of feeling lonely for someone at the holidays who is no longer with you, take their “measure of love” and pass it along to someone who needs it.

Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories with me….we still have four days left in 2011, so if you have others, just send me an email so I can pass your good news along.

Here’s Libby’s story….

Hi Kelly,

I did do a “measure of love”  this year in memory of my mom–she always got a chocolate orange at Christmas in her stocking, which she opened and shared with all of us. We all excitedly waited for our “share” of her gift and I still remember her taking that opportunity to teach us about sharing. One Christmas, I asked why she was the only one who got a chocolate orange–this would have been in the mid sixties when chocolate oranges were only available at Christmastime and very expensive. I believe the only place I saw them for sale was at the old Grand Falls Drug Store on High Street (at that time run by the Winslow family). My dad explained to us that she got it because she was very special and that she did so much for us every day!! without any concern about what she received herself.

That is why it has always been important to me to have chocolate oranges in my home at Christmas. The only “rule” about giving and receiving chocolate oranges has been that they have to be shared. This year, I bought 24 chocolate oranges to give away to people I knew and also to people I didn’t know. I still have three in the van, but I am sure I will find someone today who needs one.  I gave some away at work especially to coworkers who needed a lift as they have had a hard year for various reasons (some have had to deal with cancer in their loved ones)  , some to elderly and not so elderly patients (with various problems, including dementia and cancer) and families in the ER, some of whom left the hospital in tears after visiting their family member on Christmas Day. I followed one family into the parking lot, knocked on their car window and explained what I was doing and why as I passed her the orange to share with her family,  the lady got out of the car with tears in her eyes and gave me a big hug and called me “A Christmas Angel.”

 I also sent one home with a staff member for a “grouchy father-in-law” who I thought needed some loving, as apparently he is very hard to deal with. This was a great idea, Kelly and is a new tradition for me!! It gave me great joy to see the gratitude in the eyes of those who received the unexpected gift. Thank you so much for suggesting it. If you were closer, you would be getting a chocolate orange!!! Libby

See the beautiful ripple effect the life of Libby’s mom continues to have?  Thanks Libby for sharing your story.

Check back tomorrow for some more examples of how JOLT’ers are sharing a measure of love with those who need it!

Love you more than all the leaves on all the trees,

Kelly

The Beautiful Rough Edges…

December 26th, 2011 | no comments
All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything. ~Swami Vivekananda~

Practice wanting for others what you want for yourself by being Christlike rather than Christian, Mohammed-like rather than a Muslim, and Buddha-like rather than a Buddhist.

~Wayne Dyer~

Happy Boxing Day…..or, if that’s not your thing, Happy Monday.  Could be that I should be saying any number of things to you in December.  This is a month filled with a variety of celebrations, and a variety of belief systems associated with those special days.

Unfortunately, it seems that in our quest to make our world politically correct, we’ve become uncomfortable with celebrating that we are all in fact different, or believe in different things. We’ve turned what should be a celebration of kindness into a debate.  And I mean both sides.  I’ve heard from people who don’t celebrate Christmas tell me it is offensive.  And I’ve listened to people who are frustrated about not being able to say Merry Christmas, explaining it is the reason for the season.

I vowed at the beginning of the season I was not going to step into this….debates are not my thing.  But, after receiving several messages from people, I wanted to put down my thoughts….

I ask you.  Who said we can’t be different?

I wondered where the origins of this debate began, and it turns out, it wasn’t with you and I.  This all started with government agencies and retail establishments trying to be religiously neutral.  Did you know that?

And how’s that working out folks?

This is about a choice that we make, not as Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists or atheists.  It is about a choice we make as human beings.

We choose to be a people who divides or unites. A people of judgment or acceptance.

Look to the history books. Look at what happens when we, because of differences in race, religion or belief, start to isolate or segregate.

I was raised Catholic and I believe in Christmas.  You may not.  It’s all good.  Next week, I can promise you I will being quoting the wisdom of Pema Chodron, a buddhist nun.  As I grieved the loss of my child, one of the books that I held onto closely was written by a Jewish Rabbi.  One of my dearest friends is a Muslim.

My point? We can all learn from each other. Our differences, if we embrace them instead of fearing them, make us stronger.   So, to dismiss or criticize something or someone because they are different….you are only limiting yourself.  You are preventing yourself from connecting to the universal language of love.  No matter what your rationale.

Look at our differences as the rough edges of ourselves….sometimes, when we rub up on the rough edges of others, it is abrasive, and different and we don’t understand.  So we push back, to get them out of our personal space.  We do the same to others, with our own edges infringing upon them.

Now, we could all take our cue from the executives in government or retail who worry about the optics of a situation and how it will make them look in the eyes of their consumer.  We can try to smooth off the rough edges of life, and make everyone religiously neutral.

But what if instead, what if we celebrated those edges?  What if we realized that without them, with everything sanded down and neutral, we would not be able to break through old belief systems that limit us? What if we looked at our edges and realized that you could learn from me and I could learn from you? What if that periodic friction created by the sometimes rough edges of difference eventually molds us together?

Maybe I am a Pollyanna.  Who knows….but I just think that as long as we are talking about our differences, we are missing the fact that those tiny little differences are nothing compared to all of our similarities…..we are all part of the human race.

Have a fantastic day….whatever your season or celebration.

Today I am thankful for the billions of individual fingerprints, individual hearts beating celebrating the universal holiday….life.

Kelly

Nester the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey-A Lesson for Life…

December 22nd, 2011 | no comments
Nester, the Long Eared Christmas Donkey

Nester, the Long Eared Christmas Donkey

Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again.

 ~Grace Noll Crowell~

 

 I’ve been thinking about the Christmas shows of my childhood.

Back in “my day”, we did not have TV channels that aired cartoons and kid’s shows 24/7, 365 days per year. Back in my day, we had a handful of television channels, and if you could convince your father that Barney Miller was a rerun, you may just get to watch that Christmas special on CBC.

Yes kids, one TV. Horrifying I know, but we made it. Oh, and did I mention?

I was the remote control until some time in 1983.

Anyway, I was like many other kids around the planet, and I waited for those special, once a year programs that were a sure sign that Santa was on the way. Of course, the old standards, like Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Rudolph and Frosty were always on the menu. But for me, the one that always pulled at my heartstrings was Nester. Every year, I would check the local TV listings to make sure I did not miss it.  Each time I watched, I would cry for Nester and his hardships, even though I knew the plot of the story by heart, and knew he would be eventually okay.

Nester was a long-eared donkey who, much like Rudolph, was ridiculed for his physical differences. Nester could not work like the other donkeys, as he kept tripping over his big ears, that were so long they dragged on the ground.

The story of Nester is an emotional one. He is ridiculed, pushed out into the cold. He loses the most important person in his life, and wonders how he will ever go on. At certain points, he feels worthless, and wonders why he should bother to even try and keep going in his life. And then he meets his cherub, who tells him she is there, on behalf of God, to guide him. As she puts it,

Your ears can do a wondrous thing no other ears can do…the sounds they hear will guide you on a path that’s straight and true. And you will save another as your mother once saved you. 

The good news?  He believed and listened to that gentle guidance.  He listened because he wanted to honor the memory of his mother. And what happened?  He ended up being the very special donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem.

My point?  I think we are all a little more like Nester than we might like to admit. And no, not just the ears.

We are all flawed and imperfect in some way.  Each one of our lives is, in one way or another, a little broken. It is never what we envision or plan for, or what we feel we deserve.
We sometimes struggle through life carrying the ball and chain of our own perceptions.  We spend most of our lives seeing what is wrong about us, neglecting to notice what is right.   And then, to top it all off, sometimes, really bad things happen. People we love get sick, or even die.

But, just like Nester, I believe there is guidance and love from above all around us.  We simply have to be willing to hear it, and to abide by it even when it does not make sense to us, even when we are hurting.  Do you know why?

Because what we can’t see is that all those flaws, and disappointments and heartaches are exactly what make us into the person God needs us to be here on earth.  Each one of those things that we may see as a weakness, God sees as a strength, as something we will be able to use for our own special jobs here on earth.  And the job?

It does not involve a cubicle, or a time card.

I think our job here on earth is to figure out, based on all that has happened to us and shaped us, who we are best designed to love. 

For me, I think I am supposed to help and comfort people who hurt, if it is only to say that you will make it, and you are never alone.  I think if I can do that, I am a success.

One of the songs in this show gently guides Nester to listen to the gentle whispers from heaven,

If you hear a choir of angels, follow the sound of the angels.  Follow the voices that guide you….

Today, in this season of magic and angels, I would like to ask you to do the same.  Look not only at what has happened to you in your life.  Look at how it uniquely prepares you to help others who may need it.  Look how your gifts can be used to show others a little piece of heaven right here, right now, when they need it the most.

I’m a Nester.  Are you?

I’ve attached the You Tube clip of the show to the bottom of this post.  I know it’s no Toy Story 3, but I encourage you to take the twenty minutes and watch it.   I would also encourage you share it with your children. Take some time today to listen to the message and pass it on.
Have a long-eared kind of day,
Kelly

2011 Measure of Love Challenge….

December 14th, 2011 | 4 comments

And in our world of plenty; We can spread a smile of joy; Throw your arms around the world; At Christmas time.

~Bob Geldof and Midge Ure~

Each year, since my son passed away, my family and I have decided to “Give Away His Measure of Love…”  Let me explain.

As we hang the lights and trim the tree, I am reminded of the very important person who is missing from the celebration.  I understand that my hurt is related to the depth of my feelings.  I no longer have Stephen with me physically to give him his measure of love.

We all face moments like this, where we have this love within our hearts, and the person is no longer with us, for any number of reasons.  And boy, it hurts.  It hurts to feel that love inside and not be able to release it.

It is at that moment we all have a choice.  We can keep that love to ourselves, or we can look for opportunities to share it with others in honor of the ones we long for…

For my family, we have made it our mission to share   “Stephen’s measure of love.”  One year, we bought presents for single parents and their children. I remember carefully wrapping small gratitude journals for each mother, with a note inside asking them to look for the simple blessings that surrounded them, even on the toughest days.  That got me through the first Christmas without Stephen.

Since that time, at various times of the year, we choose to do things that allow us to give away the love we have for him.  With each act of kindness, I feel Stephen all around me, smiling at the fact that we are turning this into something beautiful.  This year, we are serving Christmas dinner, and providing support to families that need it.

Our story is not unique.  We all stand around the holiday table, and remember someone who is not there.  So, this year, instead of simple remembrance, why not give away their measure of love, to a person who may otherwise never experience it?  Find someone who needs it, and give it away.  I promise you, it will be a gift for you as well.

So, I’m officially  starting the 2011 Measure of Love Challenge….each one of you needs to do the following:

  • Think of one special person who you want to remember.
  • Find a way to share their measure of love with another.
  • Share your story, with me via email, or on the JOLT page. Tell me who you are thinking of and what you did in their honor for another…
  • Pass the challenge along to all of your friends.

I will share all the stories I receive before New Year’s.

Let’s see how much love we can pass along in the last 17 days of this year….

Hugs and Kisses,

Kelly