Sunday, October 24, 2010

ANOTHER 50 Ways to Make a Difference Without Spending a Penny

There is something deep within us all that knows it is better to give than to receive. That is why my heart is always screaming "There's NO joy like Spreading JOY!" Just like most people, this economy is killing me financially. I can't seem to get out from under the ever growing snowball of horror as far as getting ahead goes. That does NOT stop me from giving and making a difference. It's what I do, always has been, always will be.

This need to give inspired me to write 50 Ways to Make a Difference Without Spending a Penny last year. I'm honored to say that it has inspired many whose hearts have the desire to give, but their wallet says NO. My goal with these ideas is to get you to a point that you are keenly aware of ways to make a difference. That you'll recognize various chances that tend to pop up. I want your heart to soar as you are doing what you can, where you are, with that you have. And, believe me - it will.

EVERY act of joy, regardless of what it is, has limitless possibilities. You may never know just how far your selfless act of joy went.

It is my pleasure to present to you ANOTHER 50 ways of making a difference with OUT spending a single penny!

1. Click on Ads when visiting web sites. - You are already there reading & the owner of the site makes some money off each click, so why not?

2. Blog Comments - Take a few moments and tell the writer of the article if you liked or even disliked what was written. Feed back is always wonderful!

3. If you shop USE the affiliate link of a friend! WHY not let a small percentage of your purchase help someone? Don't know anyone? I know of 2. Richard @mcProdigal & Brett @ChristianRep (click their NAME to be directed to their sites which has their Amazon link there!)

4. Make every phone call extremely pleasant. Even the "Non helping" help desk calls.

5. Post Links to Charity organizational events to your facebook wall or twitter feed. If you can't donate a financial gift, donate your voice! Do it daily to help promote the event without being asked to.

6. If you know someone is having a rough day, make a video encouraging them to keep going and email it or facebook it to them. I have received a few of these, and LOVE it!

7. Donate your used computer, projectors etc to someone that doesn't have one. May take some time to research it, but completely worth it. Many single mom's would love NOT to have to go to a public library to use the internet.

8. Leave a comment below with a way of spreading joy without spending a penny. ;)

9. Establish a monthly "NO Chore Day" for your entire family. Mom - yes, this includes you too. Do something fun with that time. The dishes will wait for you!

10. Invite a friend over for coffee, dessert and a fun time of chatting.

11. Color with some children. Color with YOUR children. Don't even stay inside the lines. Be adventurous and color outside the lines.

12. Email this list to someone who has a huge heart but is without the financial means to make a difference.

13. Turn off all lights when leaving the room. (Mom's all over the world will thank you!)

14. Send an encouraging text to let someone know you were thinking of them.

15. Give a HUG - my goodness, just do it! One size fits all, you can't hug the wrong person and even if you are having an awesome day, a hug will just make it fantabulous!

16. When making homemade bread, double the recipe and give some away.

17. If you have someone's Instant Message or Skype contact info, leave them a message even if they are off line. They will find it and be encouraged when they log on.

18. Send Ecards to people in your email address book. I love using and for this. The possibilities are truly endless. Go, encourage and email smiles!

19. Recently read a book that you loved? Has a friend given you a book that they had published? Write a review and post it without being asked to on your web site promoting it. Every bit of promotion helps. (I'm so far behind on this...I'm working on it!)

20. Surprise your family with a HOT breakfast one morning, instead of the traditional quick milk, juice and cereal as they are running out of the door.

21. Give kind words freely. Honestly, after a day of "you didn't accomplish this, you made a D on that test, you monthly projections were off by a long shot...blah, blah, blah" WE all need to hear more positive things that we did do.

22. Be generous with the pat on the backs, the handshakes and eye to eye contact. Positive reinforcement here!

23. When my head is on my desk, don't bother me. Honestly, there is reason.

24. Share confidence! Remind others that they CAN do this. They are excellent at what they do. They are strong and will make it through.

25. When you are sick with a head cold, don't write. Just don't do it. Spare us all the whinybrat ickiness and don't write. ok? (LOLOL, that is a note to myself. I currently have a cold and can't think of anything to write here and am feeling kind of bratty! Thus the "harshness" of #23. I'm leaving this, but will do a for real #25 and stop writing for the night.)

25. If you see someone in distress, tears or extremely emotional about something. Even if you don't know them, take a moment to smile and remind them that it WILL be alright. Don't make light of their situation, but do be encouraging.

26. Return a favor - without being asked.

27. Do not assume - Don't do it. What you think you might know isn't necessarily the truth of the actual known fact. You just never know?

28. Wink at random people. Make sure you pass along a huge smile too!

29. Shake hands or some how, some way greet our wonderful Military personnel each and every time you see someone in uniform. Look them in the eyes and say thank you. Make this a rule! I never pass up this opportunity.

30. Take time to smell the roses. You pass them in the store, you pass them in gardens. Take the time to do it. You never know who is watching and how you will inspire them.

31. Write a note for your child(ren) expressing how proud of them you are. Leave it on their pillow or put it in their overnight bag. This is always fun for a lunch box too, especially if your child is young.

32. Be forgiving today. Bury the hatchet and let bygones, be bygones.

33. SLOW down - so you won't be grouchy! YOU know it's true. When you are in a hurry every SINGLE thing gets on your nerves and you are grouchy. (Pointing the finger at MYSELF!! I never do things slowly)

34. VOTE - Don't let this opportunity pass you by.

35. Tell those that you love, you love them. Seriously. Go on....I'll wait.

36. Designate your company MATCH to Spreading JOY. Many organizations will match your contributions 100 % up to a certain amount. Here are some Corporations that match donations.

37. Attend the party. Seriously. You were invited. The Host is working hard at putting it together! YOU will make someone GO - - have fun, sit back and ENJOY!

38. When singing in the car, LOUDLY, be aware of the feelings of others - if YOU are not alone. ;) Make sure its songs they can sing along to.

39. Phone calls - for NO reasons. Love this. Go ahead and make that call. You never know who you will encourage, whose day you'll make brighter and how that person just might have needed that encouragement at just that moment.

40. Eat Dessert FIRST. You will be a huge spreadingJOY hero to your family when you plan this. Go all out - do ice cream in waffle bowls. Have Reese's Cup Pie (and invite me over) or Chocolate Cake with Chocolate frosting. Have it first and have lots of fun!

41. Celebrate your UN-Birthday with your family. Make a cake from scratch, using basic ingredients from the pantry. The fun, laughter and the fact that it's your UN-birthday will have your home filled with great laughter and JOY!

42. Use a gift card that you received for someone else! Wow. HOW selfless is this? You'll make a difference and it will not have cost YOU a single cent.

43. Share your frequent flyer miles. Do you travel alot? Have an abundance of miles racked up. Offer a night or 2 at a hotel to someone. Let me know that you would be a resource of miles for Spreading JOY.

44. Do not wake up Grumpy. Let him sleep. ;) (hahahahaha. Ok, that is as old as the hills, but still funny to me.) Seriously. If you wake up grumpy, focus on others, think of the millions of little things that make YOUR life big and keep the ickiness to yourself until it passes. We want to be spreadingJOY not spreadingICK. Check out Confessions of a Cranky Gal.

45. Host an afternoon Tea Party with your child(ren). These will be cherished memories indeed. Before you know it, you'll be attending the wedding of your princess. Remember, PINKIES up!

46. Be happy for someone else's success AND help them, in any way, shape or form to be successful.

47. Watch your words. This reminds me of "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me." yeah, you remember that rhyme. IT IS NOT TRUE! Your words are powerful! They will leave a mark on people! Either positive or negative. You get to choose! Choose wisely!

48. Help your child(ren) complete an act of joy every day. Starting joyful habits at a young age will instill a kindness that will last a life time.

49. Leave the mole hill small. Do not make a mountain out of it. Trust me, you'll face enough mountains in your lifetime. Don't add to it.

50. End on a positive note. I realize this cannot always be accomplished, but it is worth the effort.

51. Leave a sticky note of encouragement on a few of your co-workers computer. Don't sign it. Just do it.

There you have it! Another 50 ways of making a difference without spending a single penny. I love this stuff. Spreading joy has never been easier.

I know things are tough, but you are tougher. You can make a difference, right where you are, with what you have. Free your heart of guilt because you feel you can not make a difference. You can. Do one thing a day. Just one.

What are your thoughts?

Make sure you come back and tell me - How are YOU spreading joy?

((HUGS)) Yall

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In A Valley

I'm in a valley. It's true. Have been for about a month now AND I love it! I do! I'm working in beautiful Salem Virginia. Mountains are everywhere I look. The ride to and from each week has been gorgeous with the color of the leaves changing to burnt orange and bright reds. Megan even asked me when I started working there, what is it was like. My reply was, "I'm in a valley." to which she responded ohhhhhh, niiiiice! I had to smile because I knew that I've been wondering about life's valleys.

Being in this majestic valley has got me thinking lately about "life's valleys."

We all go through the valley in life, there is no escaping it. It's a matter of when. My question to myself has been why don't I "look up" at the wonderful surroundings when I'm in life's valley, just as I'm doing while working here in the valley of Virginia? I know that I'm surrounded by a million little things that make life glorious and I also know the valleys are going to happen. So what is the disconnect?

Could it be that I'm so focused on the issues that I forget to look up and enjoy what is around me? Or maybe the discouragement during that time has put a huge cloud over me and I can't see the beauty that is all about me? Could it be that discontentment wastes my energy and I have no strength to focus on making it through the valley? Why have I never thought of looking up before?

We all have so many blessings in our life that should carry us from one valley to the next but when we are in those valleys - we tend to forget them, so our stay there seems much longer than necessary.

The valleys of life are hard. I've been in many of them and do not enjoy them during that time. I'm always thankful for friends I can come to for help, but like many - I sometimes choose not to ask, for fear of being a "burden".

I faced another closed door a few weeks back. My heart ached with great pain, discouragement and no music was there. Until I poured out my heart in the following words that day, I sat in silence. No singing, no happiness and fighting back the tears from yet one more closed door.

The Closed Door

Sometimes the hurt is too much to bare
Even though you say I can, I feel I can't share

The Load is heavy, the road is long
The heart is weary and has lost its song

I know there's hope that never ends
But for now it seems my life won't mend

I just want to be held, I'm tired and weak
I'll simply rest in silence, as I can't even speak

You are strong, I'm not. I can't even try
I can't stop the tears from falling from my eyes

This is me, this is all - there is nothing more
Such is my life - as I stand, facing the closed door.

Will I remember this in my next valley? Yes. Will it make a difference? I honestly don't know. Will I struggle along alone? I hope not. I hope that I will have the courage to ask for help that day, but it takes courage for that, and I'm far from courageous.

What do you think? Why do we not look up when we are in life's valley? Why do we struggle alone - without asking for help? We have great friendships and tons of resources, yet we choose to limp along through the valley - alone.

Tell me, what is the disconnect?

{{HUGS}} yall

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Little Things

"Holding Pure Joy! Thanks Chris!

Some time ago, I came across a saying

It's the little things that make life Big

and instantly I fell in love with it, because my heart has always celebrated little things. I even asked my mom recently if I had always loved the little things in life as a child and she recalled that I did. That the small, wonderful and simple things were always amazing to me. Learning that made my heart smile.

Many that know me, know I love Reese Cups and the picture here is me holding a "GIFT" from a student that had just attended the concept of Spreading Joy presentation at their school. I held it up to Angie, saying in my mind "LOOOOOK what I just got!!" I was so excited because I came to the school that day to GIVE to the students, not expecting a single thing in return and he put what he had just heard to work by spreading joy MY way. Those kinds of unexpected little things will make my heart float through the day!

Inspired from a calendar of 10 Happy Things a day I purchased as a treat for myself last year, I started keeping a list in the back of my journal of the wonderful little things that make my heart smile. I've decided to share them with you here, hoping that as you journey through your day with a million little joys floating around you, you'll take time to notice them as well as appreciate them. Who knows, maybe you'll start a list of the little things that make your life BIG too!

In no particular order at all - Some of the little things that make my life BIG!

CoffeeReesecupsHugsDiet CokeTwinkling Eyes
OceanSunriseSunsetFull MoonGel Pens w/Bright colors
Cloud ShapesBright StarsPlaydohBibleBlowing Bubbles
SingingMusicAmerican FlagSunglassesHandwritten Notes
Chuck NorrisSoft CarpetFavorite JeansMonkeysRoasted Marshmallows
Favorite Tennis shoesRiding a BikeWalk along a riverRoasted MarshmallowsHot Chocolate w/marshmallows
Holding HandsBlue RosesTeddy BearsSoft KleenexOver Sized Sweaters
Watching My kids sleepLaying in grass aloneSound of crashing wavesLaying in grass w/a friendCatching snowflakes on tongue
Fresh SnowfallLong necklacesWizard of OzFireballsSplashing in a puddle
M&M’sCute SocksTechnologyToe SocksUnsweetened Iced Tea
BreakfastChristmasGreen LIghtsSoldiersHeart dangle earrings
Standing FirmBlackberryDisney WorldNursesHandmade bracelets
Jukebox full of OldiesLightning across the skyCrossing a bridge w/out stoppingPolice officersFriends who call in the middle of the night
Roller CoastersPuppiesSlinkiesCard gamesInstant Messaging
Board GamesCute Note PadsSticky NotesWhite OutUnconditional Love
Steady RainRolling FogCrisp BreezeHot SoupWaking to a kiss
ForgivenessCute PursesQuotesPoemsMaking Cotton Candy
Belly LaughsPicturesScrapbookingOpalsEating Cotton Candy
Sleeping BabiesAudio BibleAudio BooksSkypeThunder in the distance
LemonadeCircusCute SunglassesiTunesPrecious moments
Face PaintingNo Spill DaysiTouchHair SprayHot Cookies out of oven
Hugs from nieces/nephewsWatching when NO one seesOverstuffed comfy chairsMy Heart Ring from DaddyHot Cake w/melted icing
Swinging on SwingHUGE sliding boardsEmpty Tomb of HOPEBeing SAFE in Gods ArmsBreakfast for Dinner
ChoicesTriple CouponsComing HomeOperasHugs for NO reason
Walking BarefootRandom PhotosHappy EndingsRosesLittle Debbie Cakes
Plants surviving in my houseGrowing up to be my MomBeing only ONE in the movie theaterMeeting new PeopleSitting sideways in comfy chair
Ice Cold SlushiesAnimal CookiesDisney ClassicsHopeAlways having music
Spreading JOYOpportunitiesWater SlidesGod’s PowerChuck Norris Bookmark
Golden SunsetsGod’s PlanSafe flightsFree DinnerBath & Bodyworks
Smiles during tearsToasted Bagels & Cream CheeseWatching a merry go roundMovie Theater PopcornSocial Media making world accessible
Hope RestoredNew WatchesMisprintsPaper ClipsKids that talk &talk….
Sparkles of love in eyes of friendKisses from Todd & MeganSnow that is soft on day 2Listening to the RainWatching my kids make the RIGHT decisions
Unplanned vacationsFull moon hanging on a cloudLong lingering WARM hugsSeeing Todd for 19th BdayHearing Harry Connick JR Sing in PERSON!
BlistexJourney PerfumeCare BearsCurve cologneMonkey Bookmark
Sleeping to sound of ocean lapping at shorePB&J Sandwiches w/MilkExtra HOT Cinnamon Dolce LatteLaughing thru nite w/a friendSleeping just after alarm goes off
Free AnythingNiagara fallsContentmentA quick exitBeach Trips w/Mom
Passing w/A “C”God’s CharacterGod’s PromisesGod’s PowerFree Audio Books
Golden GrahamsCurve 4 WomenTweet-upsCandid photosMeeting Chuck Norris
Kids PrayingBeing WelcomeBeing Paid Up…….InsteadDreams Coming True
Singing YOU are my sunshine!Power of Holy SpiritOverhearing kids say something niceChocolate covered pretzelsBeing held close as I sleep
Texts from my childrenSitting w/young peopleBlowing bubbles w/gumKisses on the foreheadChocolate covered Marshmallows
Seeing Dad in my dreamsA day of “To Don’ts”Beauty in the OrdinaryBeing loved as alwaysSaved messages in my Voice Mail
Unexpected helpReesecups in mailBeing FoundBeing TrustedMy Flower garden living
Angels Among usHugs from SantaBeing NoticedGuidanceOcean at Midnight
Not giving upPonderingFinishingSoaringFireplace at 1 am
Cute Coffee CupsSaying Thank YOUTreasures of the heartCourage to step outMaking a Difference
Smokies of TNCobblestone walkwaysFirefighter friends in BostonAcceptance of situationFrequent Flier Miles
Early Morning SmilesLoving with No BoundariesGreat things HE has doneAppreciating NOWLearning to live again
Phone calls of thanks from oceanLove that lasts foreverRealizing love hurts and it’s okBrightening MY corner of the worldUnbridled laughter of Teen girls
Meg sitting upside downTodd’s time beside me talking about nothingNoticing a smile & glance from across the roomGetting items donated for othersDiscernment right on time
Getting what you needHearing what is NOT being saidComputer prayers answeredSitting in Church w/momBeing happy -regardless
Seeing Hearts GrowMy moms unconditional loveWinning the heart of a shy childHair blowing in the windLearning a friend is a true American Hero
Happy gatherings for no reasonGetting the gift that seemed ridiculousRealizing the headache is easing upTexts asking are you OK after horrid dayKisses from my almost grown children
Laughing while others wonderUnexpected gifts in the mailPrinting off cute photo hugsSight for sore eyesLittle Debbie making it easy to give by giving
Falling asleep immediatelyWhiffs of old spiceBeing prayed throughColor making my day brightLaughing at myself
Friends PrayingWalmart @ 5 amOne More DayProtectionGetting to the Point
CertaintyString cheese2 hour napsAnother ChanceMy John R. Rice Bible
Wild FlowersNew JourneysSimple pleasuresMomentsKeeping things going
Giggling…a few days laterHonest CommunicationInspirational wordsListening…really listeningBeing accepted just as I am
Being Believed inJoy after the PainBlueberry MuffinsFamily CookoutSurprise phone calls
Strawberry yogurtExtra night for freeBelieving in my childrenBrighter days aheadSharing my passion
Marie PongA car to borrowNew purse 4 freeMessagesPeace, glorious peace
Stress free ping pongCool nights after hot summerResources at fingertipsHot apple cider w/cinnamonGuilt leaving the heart
Passing with flying colorsFasting & being close to GodFinding out you’ve inspired someoneMsg of Praise for blessing Psalm 6Todd in suit & Tie for me
New book in mailNo bake cookiesPrivacy!!!StickersKnowing this isn’t all
Being inspiredCool SandalsEncouraging textsMilk duds1895 House a B&B
Learning from an expertBeing a persistent little boogerBeach all to myselfEmptying my heart of guiltTrusting even when I don’t understand
m&m minisStickers in journalStickers on FBComing HomeBeing a Homebody
Jesus - AlwaysWanting to….Gifts to myselfSilenceCool sunglasses cheap
Todd saying “its perfect mom”Foggy Quiet morningsOne of these days…being todayExploring new placesShaking hands w/40 military personnel
A smile that dries the tearsBright paper to write onBreeze from an open windowSounds that brings smilesOpportunities in another state
Going before security comesPraying without ceasingTravel and explorationComing home to a clean kitchenStrength for tomorrow
Sweater when you need itMoon hanging in the morning skyMountains every where I lookRecognizing simple miraclesKids having the Bible I gave to them from 2nd grade & they are in 5th grade now
Friends sharing pics of beach & mountainsVisiting a new ice cream shopLetting my light shineChristmas StockingsWatching a wall of rain approach
Lance cheese &pb crackersCompliment from Princess MeganFamous Author commenting on blogWarm comfy Christmas sweatersPhoning a friend, asking for help & getting it
Phone call from ToddContacts & Corrective lensesPraying at Alter & a friend joins unexpectedlySurprise Videos in email from friendUnexpected knocks at door
Cool JournalsChocolate MilkPlumsPeace LiliesFixing a problem easily
Cool WhipSprinkles on topRememberingIT HeroesWonder Woman
Fresh Roasted chicken dinnerFav Worship song being sung liveDinner, movie & Bookstore dateFriends pics on FBWatching my brothers with their Grand kids
Saying Yes to God and trustingMuffins in the MailMustard seed faithBlissful UNeventfulnessSausage Egg & Cheese McMuffin
BewitchedCool BootsBlue Ridge PkwyPromises KeptWhen the stars line up
Cake Icing Wars with ToddMeg Blocking goals in soccerReading under a treeWarmth from Fire PlaceCream Cheese Brownies
Sesame ChickenBundling upEmergency ExitsPar 3More than Enough
List makingAnkletsBraceletsCool shellsStove Top Stuffing
Wireless InternetLucky CharmsWinter Olympics“Getting” ItHands free Headset
Laughing till I CryDel Sol Nail PolishMailing GiftsSleeping InHot hush puppies
Free E BooksSigned BookSilly Book marksSilly PuttyChuck Norris Facts
Cute StickersWorship SongsBalloon bouquetsHappy bunnyKey Chain from friend
Special Olympics & the smilesMatching Hair colorSugar free Lattes from McDonaldsBurger king Onion RingsWeekend alone at beach
Scotch TapeSharpie MarkersLove SongsOldiesPaper Jam Free Days
Extra Strength TylenolMechanical pencilsChocolate cupcakesSecrets of the heartFinding lids for bowls easily
FaithOrangesStrawberriesRanch DipLate nights on Twitter
Seizing the DayBeing NeededAn Extra HugInner StrengthLiving your Passion
Soothing rainBaconPhases of moonBouncinessUpgrades for free
Wooden swing on tree w/ropesExtra suite for guestsSitting in warmth of sunshineKids doing what is asked on first requestThinking of a friend late at night, calling and they answer
Exactly enough cakeKisses from slobbery babiesUnexpected calls that make you laughKnowing what faith can doPeanut Butter sticks
Messing with song director in church, during serviceWonder Woman to do bookMissionaries coming to visit churchSitting with Angie in churchMinute maid sugar free lemonade
People WatchingTip toeingWall of windowsChips & salsaNapping in the sun
Cute post it notesBarefoot in grassRomantic table for 2Slow dancingLove songs being sung to you
Laying in his armsChildren that prayin…believingLaughter through troublesEmailsFinding true love
Splitting a banana splitEnding the day with a friendArriving safelyEaster basketsSharing JOY with others
Facebook friendsGod’s StrengthMore than 1 bestest friendHot fudge brownie sundaeStarting a chain of yawning
Pony tail holdersSecret pathsSchoochinClean windowsPimento cheese
Pig tailsFace paintChallenge free tripsCorn dogsGazing at sky
PerseveranceFunny peopleSomething worth waiting forEarly morning thunder stormsTime capsules
Welcome home flowersWatermelonEmailed hugsFeeling better after cryingWaking to roses
You Tube qued upHelp through the rainSwimmingBeing prayed for & not even knowing itDeep, peaceful sleep – through the night

Whew.... that is a lot, I know. but trust me. this list will continue grow. Maybe the next set will be in I do love writing in color. All of these things listed in my journal are in different colors.

What are some of the little things that make YOUR life big? What JOYS do you see daily that make your heart smile? I hope you'll take the time to tell us! You never know who YOU will inspire!

{{{HUGS}} yall

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