Tag Archives: change

One In A Thousand

It seems every night lately, I watch the news and a little part of me dies inside.

Our world is struggling. People are dying, rioting, and children are crying. The gangs are taking over the streets, families are flailing, and legends have taken their own lives.

My heart has been breaking, and my mind whirling. Where is my place? How can I help?

I firmly believe we must be the change we want to see in the world, and I’ve been trying. But how do we change things like compassion and kindness? How do we take the hurt away and help others smile?

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And then I saw this movement. Some bloggers were getting together to spread compassion. #1000Speak. 1000 voices coming together to make the world a little brighter, if only for a day. I was blown away. Here was a whole group of people like me, people who just wanted to spread a little goodness in a weary world.

So I signed up. I committed to blog about compassion on February 20, 2015. Now I’m spreading the word. We still need more people to reach our goal of 1000 voices. And if we hit over 1000, all the better.

I’m humbly asking you to join with me. Let’s be the change we hope to see in this world. Let’s spread compassion. It might just be for a day, but that one day could start a lovely ripple effect. And wouldn’t that be something to see?

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We Can Be Compassion

Today there are a 1000 voices coming together for compassion.

I’ve been excited about this project from the moment it came across my Facebook feed. It’s such a beautiful goal, and I thought it fit in nicely with my 2015 resolution to spread more kindness. And if the start to our 2015 hasn’t opened Scotty and I up to compassion and kindness, then we need a lot of help.

In my heart and mind, compassion and kindness go hand in hand. They are one, interchangeable. Maybe that’s not the way for everyone, but that’s how it is for me. And so as I sat this week working on this post, I wondered how I would approach it. I had many different ideas as I readied myself for bed last night.

Then I read this post from Tamara. And I knew what I wanted to write.

Compassion is what I strive to teach my son, what, I think, all us parents strive to teach our children. But, as Tamara pointed out, it’s so often the little ones who teach us. I read her post and was reminded of a time my son was a wee bit younger. We were picking out a Christmas gift for the Angel Tree and I was telling him how there are some children in the world who can’t have big Christmases like ours. How we share our blessings by giving to those less fortunate. I think maybe he was four at the time.

That night at home, I walked into his room to get him ready for bed and found him wrapping some of his favorite toys in his blankets. I asked what he was doing and he said,

“Mama, I want to give these toys to the angel kids who can’t have Christmas. Can we share these ones with them?”

I tried to hide my tears as I sat on his bed and praised him and his big heart. I told him we would donate his toys the next day, if he wanted to, and I helped him stack them by his bedroom door.

My heart overflowed that night.

Children are not born knowing hate or discrimination. They are not born knowing the woes of the world. They are sweet and innocent little sponges who soak up all that we show them, whether we intend it or not.

We adults have years of the world hardening our hearts, years of skepticism and judgement (however unintentional it may be) in our minds. We no longer see the world as simply as our children, but we can.

We can step back and take a lesson from those we’re supposed to be teaching. We can FEEL again, and lead with open hearts. We can show compassion and kindness, it really isn’t that hard. Nor does it require that much.

Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Smile at your neighbor and ask how they are, instead of brushing by impatiently. Leave a Star Wars Valentine at random places throughout your weekend. Pass along a blender you’re not using to someone who needs or wants one. Text that friend whom you haven’t heard from, maybe they just need to know someone is thinking of them. Hold the door open for a stranger. Take flowers to work to brighten the office for you AND all of your coworkers. Donate to your local mission. Make sandwiches and take them to the homeless on the streets.

We can all do these things, we can all be these people. We can be the change we wish to see, we can be the hope in this worn and weary world.

We can be the little boy giving his beloved Finding Nemo and Lego toys to the less fortunate.

We can be compassion.

Living Better: Being The Change

LivingBetter

If you’ve been around these parts much, you know one of my main mantras is “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

One of the best ways to be the change, in my humble opinion, is to spread kindness. I see it as my way of putting good karma out there, or leaving a better world for our children. And yes, there’s a great feeling in my heart when I’ve done something kind for another.

I know I’m not alone in this. There are entire boards on many a Pinterest account dedicated to RAOK (random acts of kindness), inspiring change, and sharing love. But maybe, just maybe, you’re like me. Maybe your budget doesn’t always allow for buying someone’s coffee or meal. Maybe you need some ideas on how to help change the world that are a bit more…affordable? Times are hard for all of us, and being kind doesn’t have to mean emptying your checking account.

So I compiled a list here for you. For those of us who want to help, but maybe don’t always have the funds.

*Cards, letters, and emails. This one applies more to people in your life, but it still counts. Maybe there are a few people you missed talking to over the holidays. Drop them a line. Don’t have a stamp? Email them. Or call them. Everyone likes to know they crossed someone’s mind today. So bring that smile to someone’s face, far and wide. If you want to branch out, fill out a handful of little cards (you could even do this with post-its!) with inspirational or happy thoughts and leave them in random places as you go about your day. Drop one in the tip jar at your coffee shop, include one as you mail payment for your power bill. Leave one on a bus seat or in a taxi. The possibilities are endless!

*Hold a sign on the corner. Seriously. Over the holidays, my fiance and I saw a family standing on a street corner holding signs. Instead of asking for help, they were offering it. Their signs said things like “You matter!” and “Have a great day!” It warmed our hearts and inspired us. Sometimes people just need a reminder that there is some good out there. Be that reminder for someone!

*The next time you bake cookies, take a few over to a neighbor. Or save some for the guy who comes to work on your cable. It’s not much, but I bet it’ll make them smile. And hey, it’ll be less there tempting you, so it can also help out that New Year’s diet, eh?

*Same concept as above- The next time you’re packing lunches for your kiddos, pack an extra one. Take it to the person on the corner on your way to school drop-off. It’ll warm your heart to know they’ll have a meal that day, and it can be a great lesson for your kiddos. If you can, include an extra pair of gloves or socks with the lunch. I promise you, they’ll be grateful.

*Donate. Donate those clothes that are cluttering your closets. Help your kiddos sort through and donate their old toys and books. Donate your time. Help out at the school, the local mission, your neighbors, online. An hour spent helping someone can make a world of difference, for you and them. Unsure who needs your help? Sometimes it’s as simple as putting the offer out on social media. Reach out, you might be surprised to see who reaches back.

I hope I’ve inspired you to spread some kindness today. Even the smallest gesture can turn someone’s day around. This world is scary, tired, and weary. Let’s make it a little kinder, one act at a time. Together, we can help each other to live better.

Vitriol

vitriol (noun) :

harsh and angry words

1. a sulfate of any various metals (as copper, iron, or zinc); especially : a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate

2. something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality; especially : virulence of feeling or speech

(source Miriam-Webster Dictionary)

I once read a story in one of my favorite books about a girl who threw oil of vitriol on another girl because she was jealous of her beauty. Though the story is simply a side note in a much bigger story, it has always stuck with me. Yesterday, my gal Joules’ post had me thinking of that story again.

I often feel like the words and attitudes of people are like throwing oil of vitriol into each others faces.

Think about it-

For every look that judges when I use the motorized scooters while shopping, for every angry word yelled while driving, for every time we call one another fat, skinny, obese, ugly, fake, plastic, lazy, {insert derogatory phrase here}…

It costs us nothing to sling this vileness from our lips, but the damage it causes others is much like an acidic burn, though we can’t see the scars it leaves. And we each carry our own scars, yet still…the burns fly from our mouths with little to no thought.

I’m just as guilty as the next, though being continuously judged these last few years has had its impact on me. Still I catch myself casting a sideways glance, and hear the unsavory thoughts that pass through my mind. I’ve often said I don’t judge based on appearances, I judge on actions. But who am I to pass judgement? I don’t know another’s story until they share it with me, and even then, who am I to pass judgement?

I firmly believe we must be the change we wish to see in the world. It’s why I started Spoons 4 Spoonies, and why I agreed to be a contributing writer for RheumatoidArthritis.com. How can I complain about the world without doing my part to change what I don’t like?

And so, I am challenging myself to be the change, to be the good I wish to see in others. I’m challenging myself to carry kindness in my heart. I want to be the kind of person who leads with compassion and understanding. I want to be an example for my son, to show him that it’s okay to be a gentle adult in what can be a harsh world.

And maybe, just maybe our kindness will soften the world, even if it’s just a little bit.

What change would you like to be? I challenge you to go after it. BE THAT CHANGE. I’m giving you the power, you can do it.

My Hands Are Changing

My fingers are twisted.

As much as I hate typing those words, I can’t hide from them anymore. Because it’s not just that they’re twisted. They’re painful and more clumsy. Tasks that I used to be able to do just a few months ago are now nearly impossible. And it’s breaking my heart.

The good news is that the X-rays I had done last month didn’t show any major points of joint erosion. So as bad as I may hurt some days, at least internally, we’re managing my disease well. The bad news is that my fingers are still twisted.

It started out slight, I noticed it one morning a few months ago while examining my hands while I stretched. Just the slightest angle in the tips of the first two fingers on my right hand. They didn’t hurt, at least not more than usual, but it was jarring to see this change.

The twisting has been slight, and if you were just to glance at my hands, you may not notice it at all. But if I lay my hands flat on the table, you’ll see how the first two fingers turn  towards the other fingers. They’re not gnarled, yet, but it is a noticeable difference to me.

Even without the visual reminder, I’ve known my hands were changing. It started around the holidays. I’ve been working on a pretty big cross-stitch design for a good friend of mine. I packed my supplies hoping to work on my stitching while my fiance and I were home visiting my family for Christmas. When my fingers struggled to hold onto the needle, I told myself it was because of the cold weather and the resulting swelling.

Each time I’ve tried to pick the project up in the last few months, it’s the same thing, though. I can’t make my fingers grasp the needle for more than a few seconds. If I can manage a stitch or two, it’s a miracle. So I’ve put away my needles, all my pretty thread, and refused to think about it. I haven’t wanted to focus on what I can no longer do.

It breaks my heart, these little things RA keeps taking from me.

I know I should be grateful for all I still have, and for the fact that this disease hasn’t yet eroded my joints beyond repair. I know I should be happy for all I can still do and that’s where my focus should be. But each time I have to give up an activity I love, it’s a dagger to my heart. It’s a reminder that on some level, my life is not my own. It’s a reminder that I will continue to lose capabilities until I’m left a shell of the person I once was.

I know it’s a slow process and I probably have many decades of happy life ahead of me. I know I will find new hobbies and activities. I know I will continue to thrive and live despite RA and its complications. But there will be a dark part of my heart that will continue to mourn the me I used to be and things I used to be able to do.