Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Joy of Choices

We all love choices don't we? We love having our choice in music, food, drinks, reading material, worship etc. When we are looking for ways of spreading joy, there are literally limitless possibilities in the ways we can make a difference. There are free ways - such as phone calls, emails, hugs and smiles and then there are ways that cost us a little - such as gift cards, small toys, flowers. Don't forget the sacrificial ways of spreading joy. The gift to the Missionary when you aren't sure where gas money will come from, the money for the Women's shelter etc. There are no wrong ways of spreading joy, no wrong recipients of joy and the greatest thing of all is the joy that YOU receive from making a difference. Nothing can take away the everlasting joy that comes from doing something for someone else.

I wanted to share with you some ways that others are Spreading Joy. I hope that checking out these other blogs will encourage and motivate you to start looking for ways of spreading joy. They are right there in front of you. You just have to get yourself into the habit of looking for the opportunities.

  • Blog Action Day - where thousands of "Professional Bloggers" blogged about poverty and what can be done about it. A great way of Spreading Joy while working to end hunger.

  • 1000 Mitzvahs - I came across this website and just fell in love with it. Linda is working her way towards 1000 Mitzvahs (acts of kindness) and is at number 785! What an exciting adventure! I can't wait until she hits 1000!
  • 25 Days to Make a Difference - Laura, a young lady (not sure of her age) decided to take the pain of the loss of her Grandfather and turn it into something that would have made him proud. She is making a difference for an organization each month. "I decided to honor my grandfather’s memory by trying to make a difference every day for twenty five days. I wanted to be able to do little things, like kids my age typically do, instead of HUGE things that are sometimes hard for kids like me." Check her out, she is really inspiring.

  • Author Squad - in Huntersville NC will have a Giving Tree in their store beginning November 1st. The tree will be full of tags with ages of boys and girls that you can make a difference for this Christmas. They are gracious enough to give a 20% discount on a purchase made for the Giving Tree. All of the items collected will be giving to Christmas Joy for Spreading Joy.

  • Spreading Joy's Calendar of ideas - This is where you can find ideas for ways of spreading joy and making a difference. Most are low cost or even free while others range in cost. Keep in mind that even when you feel you can't afford to give anything that you have "time" you can give. When it comes to time, no one is more wealthy than another - we all have the same amount.

These are just a few links to some of the many, many choices you have for Spreading Joy. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Christmas is only 60 days away. You could help at a shelter or is there a family that you know is struggling? Why not get together a box of food and leave it on their porch? Or even take it to them and let them know you are thinking of them.

When we just concentrate on giving without focusing on how much, how big and will it change the world right now - we can (and will) make a difference. Focusing on the right here and now will allow you to see your giving as the true gift that it is. Everyone has something to give.

Right now, I simply can't give big (I'm talking Oprah big), but I can give of what I do have and do so happily. I can notice the opportunities and take the time to make a difference until I can actually give on a HUGE level!

How about you? Is your heart feeling a little empty? Do you feel like your joy is nowhere to be found? What are you doing to get it back? How are you spreading joy? The choices are endless and the decision is up to you. There's no joy like spreading joy!

~"I have found that there is a tremendous joy in giving. It is a very important part of the joy of living." William Black, president of Chock Full O' Nuts Corp.~

~Cup of Joy~

The Joy of Giving ~John Greenleaf Whittier~

Somehow, not only for Christmas,

But all the long year through,

The joy that you give to others

Is the joy that comes back to you;

And the more you spend in blessing

The poor and lonely and sad,

The more of your heart's possessing

Returns to make you glad.

Photo: Todd Wikle -Trinidad Mission Trip 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What is your passion?

There are so many things that we must do in life. We must support our family, we must pay our bills, we must pay our taxes, we must educate our children, we must - we must - we must.....

What about what we love to do? What we want to do? In this frantic race of life that we run each day, there are things that we would love to do instead of what we must do. The 50 million dollar question is WHY aren't we doing it? WHY? Why don't we schedule time to do those things that we are passionate about? Why do we constantly put off what we know we need to do to keep our lives balanced? Why is it that we are making less and less time to work at our passion.

Did you happen to notice that I said "work" at our passion? That's right - work at it. Spreading Joy is one of my passions and making sure I do one thing for someone everyday can be difficult. Sometimes I get wrapped up in one of the 3 classes I'm taking, sometimes I get caught up with my daily job and the needs there. Sometimes its making sure that my family spends enough time together as one child will be heading off to college soon. Working on our passion may be difficult to manage at times, but it is doable.

Regardless of what financial level you are at, what social status you have achieved or where you are in the various stages of life, you can take the time to work on what you are passionate about. We spend time scheduling meetings, planning vacations, family get togethers and doing the necessary things that our day to day life requires that we tend to forget to allow ourselves some time doing what we love.

What is your passion? Is it reading, is it writing, is it musical or artistic? Do you love scrapbooking but can't find the time to preserve those precious memories? Is it woodworking or building things? Is it spending quality and quantity time with your family? Is it sewing and crafting? Is it volunteering or helping others? Is it all of the above?

We all have "to do" lists that we use on a daily basis. Some are on the computer, some are written down on paper and others with great memories keep things straight in their minds. Have you ever thought about putting what you love doing on your daily to do list? Why not? Why not plan some reading time - even if it is just 30 minutes? Why not plan some volunteering time or sewing time? Why not work on things that we are passionate about a little everyday?

I'm not saying plan out everything, everyday - that would be no fun at all. I understand the need for spontaneity. Before gas prices got totally out of control, it would be nothing to get up on a Saturday morning and head to the beach for a day. (4 hours away from here and definitely one of my passions!) But can we plan an evening to work on our sewing projects? Can we plan a family night of fun and games? Can we get out our calendars and make sure we have these things scheduled? Sure we can - if we decide to get passionate about our passion.

So, how about it...what new entries are going on your to do list for this upcoming week? Can you work at your passion a few times this week? Is there a way to make it happen everyday? If not, start small - set a goal for 3 out of 7 days. Yeah, you know you can do it.

Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about.

~Cup of Joy~

It's Up To You

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room,
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true,
One life can make the difference,
You see, IT'S UP TO YOU!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The GREATEST question so far...

Spreading Joy Corporation is a non profit organization that is totally dedicated to reminding people of the JOY of giving. No worries about HOW much you give, no worries about WHO you give to - bottom line, just do it and you will (no doubt about it) experience complete joy!

Yesterday, I was speaking with someone about Spreading Joy and explaining the concept behind it and I was asked "If someone has NO money, NOTHING extra, what can someone in that situation do to help Spreading Joy". Ok, so I don't remember her exact words, but that is sort of the question. Immediately my mind started racing. I told her a few things, but was heading to a meeting and could not go into details. So, here (my friend) is the answer to the greatest question so far!

1. Spread the Word! This is probably the single most important thing you could do for Spreading Joy Corporation. Word of mouth is still the greatest way to advertise because it carries so much weight. You may never know which of YOUR contacts can and will help SJC. If you take that concept one step further - one of THEIR friend's friend may be financially able to support SJC all because YOU took the time to spread the word about Spreading Joy.

2. Gently used books and clothing. Especially coats this winter season. All of these things will be GIVEN to those that needed it most. We will not sell them, we will give them away. That winter coat that is taking up room in the closet will be great to keep a needy child warm!

3. Time. Your most valuable donation. Can you organize a toy (coat) drive within your company? Can you wrap a large box and put it out for others to drop a toy in? Can you donate your skills to help teach? Computer skills are needed, interviewing skills are needed. What skills do you have that can be used to help other people better themselves? Can you volunteer in an office for your local shelter?

4. Tell me your story. Are you spreading joy even though things are extremely tight? Are you finding free ways of bringing joy to the lives of others? In doing this, you are making a difference - you are spreading joy because you are giving from your heart (not of your wealth) and you will encourage others that they can do the same.

5. SJC is not a faith based Non Profit Organization, but me - personally - I do believe in the power of prayer. Pray for me. I need wisdom. I need the ability to make wise decisions and choices.

We all can not give of our wealth simply because we do not have it. Lately we are just making enough to keep gas in our tanks and food on the table and are watching every penny in between. We know in our heart if we could, we'd give BIG - HUGE - even and boy would it make a difference. That is the beauty of giving. No matter the size, no matter what it is - the joy is still great! The difference we make is still powerful. You take the time to show someone you care and YOU benefit the most from it. YOU get the awesome feeling of joy!

~Cup of Joy~
So - here are some free ways of Spreading Joy. I would love to have many, many comments on this posting with MORE ideas of free ways of Spreading Joy.

Handwritten note
Save and give Box tops for Education
Campbell's Labels
Tell me your Story - This help others to realize they can make a difference
Volunteer at a shelter
Smile at everyone
Donate books/toys/coats for us to give
Call and talk to people you haven't spoken with in a while
Write your child's teacher a note and say thank you
Visit any nursing home (even if you no know anyone) and just say hello to everyone.
Email/send our troops a free letter

This is just for starters. AND Imagine if you ended each note or each call with "have you heard about Spreading Joy Corporation?" and gave them the website information. You would be getting the word out about us and someone, somewhere will think that our cause is worthy enough to support financially and make a donation all because you were Spreading Joy at no cost!

These ideas and many, many more are located in the calendar section of

No matter where we are financially we all have the ability to give great joy! When we realize just how easy it is, our lives will be completely full of joy that no one can take away. Even through problems, difficulties and heartache - the joy will still be there if we can simply get past thinking that we can't make a difference because we can't give big. Every gift of any size to any person WILL make a big difference in both your lives.

How are you spreading joy? What are some of the "free" ways you are impacting the lives of others? Please click on "comments" at the end of this post and let us know.

photo courtesy of flickr
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