Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Yummy Things

I'm truly a lover of so many things. I love the cute tiny version of the real deals, I love freshly baked cookies or brownies, I love bite sized brownies, cheesecake samples - I could go on and on (and maybe soon, I will just have to do that) but sometimes the yummy things make life good.

I love giving homemade treats as well as getting them. I would LOVE to be able to bake and decorate cakes like the professionals do because if I could - someone would get at least one a week. Think about it....if you own a bakery and you have everything you need to make cookies, cakes and such - why NOT make and decorate one cake, giant cookie - something for someone simply for no reason.

I'm not a professional, but I'm definitely going to give it a try. Maybe even cookies in a jar mixes or something of that nature.

The yummy things are why I try and give Reese cups away frequently. First, they are my favorite and next everyone knows that peanut butter and chocolate were just made for each other...they are the perfect pair. I love buying them and just giving them out to people I don't even know. Reese Cups are so yummy. Actually, I recently purchase some of the Easter Reese Eggs because I wanted "dessert" after lunch and I had some left over. I saw a Police Officer doing some paperwork and I walked over to him and handed him a Reese Egg and simply said - "have a great night and stay safe". I smiled and left. I LOVED it and he was definitely surprised. I love those that serve and protect us and they deserve an abundance of yummy things.

Ahhh - the yummy things, a surprisingly simple way of Spreading Joy. What is your favorite yummy thing? Do you share it? Giving and making a difference doesn't have to cost a lot, it just has to come from the heart.

So, tell me - how are you Spreading Joy?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happiness is a Choice

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~Abraham Lincoln

I believe that Abraham Lincoln lived through one of the worst times that the United States has ever been through and yet he realized that happiness is a choice.

I understand that bad things happen to good people and sometimes it seems never ending - but you have opportunities to seek out the happiness during these bad times.

"Our economy is in a downward spiral, the news is always depressing and it seems that no matter how hard we try, we just can't seem to get ahead. Is anyone really happy? "

Sound familiar? Sure it does. We see how companies large and small are having to cut back, scale down and lay people off just to make it. We see how families are sacrificing family vacations for quality time spent at home because they can't afford the hotels and/or gas to get to where they want to go. But the question remains - do you have to be miserable?


Quality time at home with the family can be so much fun! Break out the board games for a gameathon! Play board games with the family until you are the last man standing. Make homemade pizza and some kind of easy dessert. Pop several bags of popcorn and let the games begin. Give a certificate for "No Chore Day" to the winner (and Mom - let's hope YOU are the winner!)

If we choose to be happy during these discouraging times it will encourage others as well as teach our children how to handle difficult situations. Yes we get tired of always fighting to keep our head above water but it is worth the fight. It is worth the extra effort. Things aren't going to always be bad - there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to keep working your way there.

Here are some benefits of choosing to be happy:

1. Healthy body - your blood pressure isn't up, your body isn't stressed - choose happiness!

2. Your family is happier - Again, things are tough but look for the joy in everyday situations. Even the nightly news world is looking for happier stories to run. (and a side note here - there is NO reason they can't start a newscast off with a positive story of someone doing good, one in the middle of the depressing news and then end the nightly news with a story of someone doing good...they said there is no way they could air all the stories of people doing good - they need to at least try)

3. Your friends will still want to be your friends - Come on - you know you do not like being around Negative Nellie. No one does.

4. You will be successful - What? You don't get it? Success isn't measured by the size of your house, the year - make and model of your vehicle or the balance in your bank account. NO - success is so much more than that. Your children love coming home? Success! Your friends spend time laughing with you when they are with you? Success! Your spouse loves just being with you even if it is just at home reading side by side quietly? Success! Where is your success?

5. You display self control - While you can't control what goes on around you, you can control your reaction to what is happening. Self control is a rare quality these days.

6. You will have wealth that can never be taken away - Money cannot buy happiness! If it could, would as many Hollywood stars be on drugs, end up in rehab and like some - lose it all because they couldn't manage the money. Money is not the only wealth there is. Are your teenage children making wise decisions and getting the best grades possible? Yes - then you are rich indeed! Are you and your husband still happily married? Wow - what wealth there is in that! Are you and your family pretty much healthy? - That is awesome!

The mortgage brokers can't take that kind of wealth away. Some of us are rich beyond compare and yet we are so focused on the house we don't have and the money we don't make that we forget to see the real wealth we have....those that hug us every night, those friends that will help when the times are so tough that we can't make it alone. These are the priceless things that make us happy.

There are so many things out there that we have no control over - but happiness....we have a choice!

What are you choosing? I hope you'll choose happiness, joy and all that comes with it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Not your Normal Non-Profit

Not your Normal Non-Profit

This is an essay that I wrote to enter a Business Grant Contest. We must get people to "read and rate" our story.

So - please "read and rate"!

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

50 Ways to Make a Difference without Spending a penny!

So many people have been laid off of their jobs or have had significant cut backs as to the amount of hours worked (which is the case in my family - my husband is not getting a full 40 hour week and boy does that hurt.) The head says "you can't afford to give and make a difference" while your heart screams "you can't afford NOT to give and make a difference!" So, what is a person that has a desire to give BIG (and I'm talking give "Oprah big") supposed to do when the money isn't there? Forget about the "BIG" portion of giving and simply do what you can with what you have.

I truly do love to buy things for the sole purpose of giving them away. When my children see things are obviously not for them, they will immediately ask "Who is that for?" because they know that I normally don't keep things - I give them away. With my husbands hours being cut back, I'm still going to give or do something daily to make a difference. Here are some of the ways I'll be Spreading Joy while the finances are extremely tight!

1. Pass on a book that you've enjoyed. Write a note in the front saying what you enjoyed and instruct the next "owner" to pass it on after they have read it.
2. Instead of "googling" when searching - use Good Search and these guys will make a donation to Spreading Joy. (there is a button on the right that will take you there)
3. Donate gently used dvd's, vhs tapes and video games - I'm sure Spreading Joy can find those that will love to use them.
4. Be Positive today - with the depressing economy, bills falling behind - this can really be tough, but it will encourage those around you and in the process bring joy to yourself.
5. Donate expired coupons to the troops overseas.
6. Thank a Police Officer today (hopefully NOT while you are getting a ticket!)
7. Give time to your spouse - do something together, visit a park, bookstore etc.
8. Donate household items to Spreading Joy to pass along to others in need.
9. Hold a yard sale and donate half of the proceeds.
10. Taking the 30 day challenge? Tell me about it here.
11. Baby sit for a friend/neighbor for free.
12. Serve a meal at a homeless shelter or women's shelter
13. Encourage our soldiers. Send a free letter here.
14. Mentor someone - have you started your own business? Are you an expert in a certain field? Share that talent!
15. Donate unused craft items to a daycare or elementary school.
16. Turn in those Box Tops for Education - found on Pillsbury items.
17. Smile at everyone you come in contact with today.
18. Offer to let someone ahead of you in line.
19. Volunteer in a Nursing home.
20. Donate blood.
21. Donate Plasma - and get paid for it.
22. Organize a book drive - get your neighborhood to donate gently used books. Pass out a flier asking for books - giving instructions to leave them in a bag on the porch letting them know you will pick them up the next week.
23. Turn in your Campbell's Soup Labels
24. Have a family meal at the table - talk about current events in the family.
25. Give a handwritten note of encouragement.
26. Start a Gratitude Journal - leave it out for others to see as they visit you.
27. Donate gently used magazines to a nursing home
29. Call someone who is not feeling well and talk until you make them laugh
30. Volunteer at an animal shelter - play with the animals.
31. Visit with the elderly or someone who can no longer get out as much as they'd like.
32. Pick flowers from your garden and give away.
33. Volunteer for your local church.
34. Give a thank you card to someone who has made a difference in your life.
35. Run errands for a new Mom (or someone that is sick)
36. Pick up trash you see as you are walking on your route.
37. Volunteer to read to a class at your local Elementary school
38. Write a thank you note to your child's teacher.
39. Seek out a store manager and let them know what an excellent employee your grocery bagger was (or cashier).
40. Donate gently used clothing.
41. Volunteer at a hospital.
42. Donate your "free items" from the buy one get one free - to a local food pantry.
43. Leave a note hanging in or on your mailbox thanking your mail carrier for always being so dependable!
44. Speak to the elderly you pass - look them in the eye and smile. We tend to forget about the great individuals who paved the way for us.
45. Say Please and Thank you - show sincere appreciation.
46. Go to Church. There are so many churches. When people get discouraged, that is one of the first places they'll go. You can encourage so many people this way!
47. Make extra chili and cornbread muffins - and take to a neighbor.
48. Bake homemade cookies with items you have in your pantry and share with neighborhood children.
49. Donate extra blankets to a homeless shelter.
50. Give a basket of home grown veggies.
51. (a bonus!) Host a game night with your family - eat dessert first! Turn off cell phones (ok - kids, you can leave yours on....) but spend time laughing together playing games!

There you have it - 50 ways to make a difference without spending a single penny.

Everyone can make a difference! The real question is - will you? How are you Spreading Joy? Do you have any other ideas of making a difference without spending any money? If so, please share them in the comments! (that would count a too - because we all need as many ideas as we can get!)

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