Acts of Kindness

Acts of kindness are never wasted. They can have an impact that goes beyond the single act of one person helping another. It’s like when you drop a stone in a pond: the initial splash can be clearly seen, but there are then also ripples which spread outwards to encompass the whole pond. This “ripple effect” can take so many forms and range from tiny things to massive things.

For me, this week has been rather a big one as I am tackling redoing my website. It is a big job and not one that I particularly relish. But I have been helped by my mentor Linda Clay who has crafted a fantastic site for herself.

Linda has taken time out of her busy schedule to help me with the different problems I have encountered and has shown me the steps I was missing. I am very appreciative of her help and support.

It doesn’t matter what you do in life, helping someone almost always impacts them for the good. Now I’m not saying you should sacrifice your work, your self-care or your family life to help others, but the ripple effect continues. What you have to decide is whether it will be a positive or a negative ripple effect.

Tonight I was chatting to a new friend and she helped me see things that I hadn’t realised were weighing me down. When I was thanking her at the end of our conversation and saying what a blessing she had been, she was delighted to know that she had been able to help me.

I was reminded of a comment in a book that struck me years ago when the author got me thinking about the fact that we don’t tend to compliment people while they are alive but we talk about their good points once they are dead. But we really shouldn’t do this. Why do we wait until they are gone to compliment them or let them know what a blessing they have been to us?

I don’t think it’s wrong to thank people for their acts of kindness. You can carry that ripple effect into your next task or even the next day following and pass it on to others. It is only a small thing but imagine what you could inspire in other people’s lives!

For me there have been many acts of kindness from others, some of which I was able to repay to the person and some I was not. But the ripple effect still continues as the act of kindness is spread to others. We may not get it right for everyone but we can spread the negative or the positive.

And acts of kindness don’t have to be big or cost a lot of money. We can be kind to each other in small things. And you never know what a kind word or a smile might do for someone else.

Have you had any acts of kindness done to you? What was the “ripple effect?” Very rarely is it taken the wrong way and I bet you were able to give back to them or pass it onto someone else.

Life can be an adventure

Life can be an adventure but it can also be boring and dull. Most of that is down to how we view life and the experiences that happen to us. Some people think of adventure and combine it with the concept of adrenaline junkies who do extreme sports.

Adventure is actually different things to different people. For some, it can be a massive experience but for others, adventure is what would be considered by someone else a small thing.

For me, adventure is things like just going for a drive to see landscapes and we often would go for drives just because. Why not go and see where you end up? Some of the places we ended up in were because of the strange names they had.

I don’t know if you have ever associated courage with adventure? But actually it is. If you didn’t have the courage to try something, the adventure side of it wouldn’t exist.

Do you know that you can actually bring a sense of adventure to anything? It is all in how you view it. You can even make something seem like an adventure for your child. I hate hospitals and seeing doctors but I have tried to make sure that it is fun and exciting seeing them for my son. My husband views going to hospital as a treat and I want Johnathan to feel that too.

I’m not saying this is easy – it isn’t in every situation. Some are much more difficult but that’s ok. Being grateful for what we have and maintaining an attitude of gratitude can help the sense of adventure in our lives.

So what does adventure mean to you? Can you find it in the small things or is it big experiences that you crave? Adventure can be part of your attitude of gratitude. I’m not saying I am perfect at doing this – nobody is. But if you try, it can certainly make a difference.

Shiny Project Syndrome

You might think I added two extra letters by saying project instead of object but actually you read it right. I don’t know if you are anything like me, but I can easily get caught by the next shiny project that comes along.

There are so many things I would love to do and learn as a crafter, an artist, a mother, a writer, a wife, a friend, a Christian. And the world is full of shiny projects that can lead you to believe if you just did this course or learnt that technique or read that book, your life could be better, your relationships deeper, your pockets fuller and everything would be different.

In fact, if you really wanted to, you could waste a lot of time and money and effort joining the next project your eyes light upon. And the opposite is true, too – you could learn a lot and enhance your life. But at the end of the day, it’s where you place your values.

I’m not trying to say any particular project or book or course is not a good thing to do. They could be the best courses in the world but if it is not where your life needs to be focused right now, they are no use to you. Or if you want to do one, but it takes away from your family, for example, is it really worth it?

When you are trying to start a business the courses and books and the promises that abound seem so shiny and beautiful, you could get sucked in to the hype. Yes, there is a possibility that you could make an overnight success but that is extremely rare. In fact, what you don’t see about the “overnight success” is the years of trial and error to find what suits them or the final details of their project that lights them up come together.

As with anything in life, what you want doesn’t just fall in your lap. And everything takes time. You don’t become an expert overnight, you don’t have the level of a 15 year relationship when you’ve been married 2 weeks and your invention doesn’t work the very first time you attempt to make it.

Don’t look at the “shiny project syndrome” of attempting to do everything at once because the next thing looks so amazing. Look at what your goal is and set your sights for that. Of course you need to develop the skills you need but not every one that you encounter in your journey through life. And you mustn’t get discouraged if everything doesn’t fall in your lap at once. In fact, it most likely won’t.

Have you ever been caught out by “shiny project syndrome?” It is an easy thing to do but if you focus on your end goal, you will quickly realise if this is something you need right now or a project that could be saved for another time.

Life and Lemons

I was thinking about life and lemons last night. As both Kevin and I are disabled people could look at us and possibly think that it must be really hard for both of us to be disabled.

What you have to remember is that everyone has different struggles because of the lemons thrown at them but it is how you deal with those lemons that matter. For Kevin and I, the lovely thing is that in our marriage because we are both disabled, we understand that the other can’t do certain things and work together to sort things out.

For me, visiting the hospital is not a pleasant experience. I have had lots of problems over the years that have kept me in and away from the people and things I love. Now Kevin views going to hospital as a really exciting thing and I want Johnathan to view it that way as well so I encourage him to look forward to any appointments there and that the doctors and nurses are there to help him.

You can’t change the lemons that get tossed your way. That is a fact. BUT you can change how you view them and what you do. I know you hear the saying “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.” Well personally I don’t see why it has to be lemonade. What about a lovely pudding like lemon meringue pie? I think that would be much nicer. With that you get the pastry AND the meringue. Much better idea in my opinion.

When somebody is short with you or rude and you don’t know why, remember the lemons. You have no idea what they are going through. They may have had some bad news, or maybe it could be as simple as them not having had enough sleep. Personally I think extending grace to others is a good thing to do if you can. I know it can be difficult, but it is possible.

Don’t get me wrong here. If someone has done something really bad (basically illegal) you do NOT have to take them back into your life. You can (if you wish) extend grace to them but you need to protect yourself and your family to keep them safe. You don’t even have to tell them about the grace you extend to them if you don’t want to because it is not for their sake, but for your own and your peace of mind.

So what are you going to do about lemons that get thrown your way? Make lemonade or lemon meringue pie and change things around? Or just sit with the lemons in your lap? Have a down time about these lemons if you need to, but then get up and make something different out of it. I don’t think it matters if it’s lemonade or lemon meringue pie. But determine in yourself that you can make a change.