Countdown till Christmas –1 days to go!

I apologize for the delay in posting this last post of my countdown till Christmas but my husband is a follower of my blog (and one of my biggest fans, which I am grateful for!) and I didn’t want him to see this until after I gave him the surprise. …

It’s been a fun filled Christmas Eve and I hope you have had one as well. My husband and I exchanged presents today as tomorrow is all about exchanging with family. One of the presents I gave him was homemade, as I believe in giving him one every year. Today, I wanted to do something special for him as he makes my life special in ways I could never have imagined.

Today, I made him a framed collage of the first four and half years we’ve known each other. And he was very happy with it :)

And I want to thank the universe that I was fortunate enough to find my soulmate. We are vastly different and yet extremely alike. He teaches me everyday and helps make me a better person. I hope I do the same for him. He challenges me and yet allows me to be the curious thinker that I am. I believe I’ve done something right to have met this amazing tall, dark and handsome man. (Seriously, when I first met him, I thought he was waaaayyy out of my league ;) but he chose me!)

So, in ending this ten day countdown I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas and good night. May you find love and peace in your lives, whatever that means for you.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu

Countdown till Christmas – 2 days to go!

As I was about to walk into a grocery store, I saw an elderly lady, late 70s/early 80s, dressed warmly, sitting on chair and ringing a bell to collect money for the Salvation Army. She said “Merry Christmas” or “Hello” to various people as they came and went but many walked right past her, without even an acknowledgement. It’s one thing to choose not to donate, but it’s another to be downright rude.

So I walked right past her and gave her a big smile, saying “Hello.” She responded with, “Hello” and a tiny smile back.

As I grabbed a basket in the insanely packed grocery store (I’m not kidding, full shelves were empty,) I decided I was going to do this my entire trip. I was going to go out of my way to be nice to people.

I allowed people to plow ahead of me as they seemed in a rush. I smiled when a woman bumped into me. When someone apologized for walking right in front of me and making me nearly fall, I simply said, “No worries.”

And you know what? It felt good. Really good.

No matter what kind of day one has had, is it too much for a little common courtesy?

I think the universe rewarded me for my efforts also. I kid you not, twice I reached a shelf looking for something I wanted only to find it empty – slices of sharp cheddar and arugula lettuce. But then, when I glanced in the back or nearby, I found what I was needed. And there was only one of each, as though they were there just for me.

Positivity begets positivity. Try it. Let it swirl all around you this holiday season (and then maybe it will be commonplace for the whole year! that’s my goal…)

Oh, and when I excited, the sweet old lady was being ignored by yet another busy shopper. So I walked right by her, looked her in the eye and said, “Merry Christmas.” I must have surprised her because she said, “Oh! Merry Christmas to you” and then a big smile spread across her cold, chapped lips.

I smiled right back.

#countdowntochristmas

Countdown till Christmas – 3 days to go!

In keeping with the theme of learning and helping, I decided to brainstorm on a way I could be of help to the community next to me. It’s a collection of apartments for senior citizens.

After perusing their website and learning more about the community, I came upon their wish list for donations. One of the things listed was “individuals who could provide specialty workshops.” I don’t know if this is exactly what they have in mind, but I’m thinking of starting a book club for them. Reading books not only keeps a mind active but also provides ways for one to learn and grow.

As a book junkie and professional book reader, I’ve been a loner for a lot of my life. Yes, I’m social and have friends but I can get lost in a book and before I know it, it’s been days since I’ve had contact with the outside world. Well, maybe not anymore since I’m married now but before that it was more often than I care to admit… Needless to say, but I will anyway – finding a way to incorporate books with other people will challenge me and that’s a way I can help myself while I help others.

I’ll be paying the community’s main office a visit tomorrow (I came up with this idea too late to visit today…) to see if they are interested in having me volunteer my time to host a book club for them once a month.

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you updated!

#countdowntillchristmas

Countdown till Christmas – 4 days to go!

I decided today I was going to do something in an effort to help the homeless. I didn’t want to just go out and find someone to hand money to though. So I searched online for a way to help a shelter in my area.

And I found the Beacon Light Mission. It’s been around since 1902 and started as a place for soldiers to rest. After WWII, demand was great and they grew in size and became a fully functioning shelter for men. It moved locations again in the 1970s and has gone through changes over the years but still remains a shelter for homeless men. And in 2011, a twenty-bed Women’s shelter was added on.

After researching both shelters, I learned each has a wish-list on Amazon for things they need so I hopped on over to the site, using Amazon Smile (my choice of charity is UNICEF), and I ordered a bunch of underwear for the shelters to give to those who stay there. The address was in the system, allowing the packages to be sent directly to the shelters. And they’ll get there just in time for Christmas!

It’s amazing how one can find a vast array of ways to help others if they just simply look. It isn’t enough to post a meme on your Facebook page or say out loud that you’re against something. It takes action.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
– Ghandi

#countdowntochristmas

Countdown till Christmas – 5 days to go!

Five days till Christmas! It’s about 75* degrees right now in Los Angeles, so it’s a bit difficult to feel the seasons change but I do live vicariously through east-coasters as I just heard my hometown of Buffalo has received eight inches of snow! (I may be more happy about that than they are though….)

I remember growing up there and my mom needing to scrape the ice that built on the car simply while we were shopping. Brrrrr……! But I digress….

Thinking of the season changes led me to thinking about Buffalo which led to me to thinking about my grandparents. I’m fortunate to have three of them still with me, two in their nineties and one close to it. I grew up knowing them well and I’ll forever be grateful that both sides chose to leave Sicily in the 1950s to come to America to give their children a better life.

As a first generation Italian American (Sicilian to be specific), I take pride in where I’m from and realize that America is a melting pot of immigrants from all over, which to me is a beautiful thing. There is a reason so many people want to be here and I do not take for granted for one day the freedom I have because of those before me who fought for it.

Today, in the spirit of love and being helpful, I decided to write hand-written letters to my grandparents in their native Italian language, which I am rusty at and would be nowhere without my Italian/American dictionary.

I know it’s a small thing but it’s the small things that make up the moments of our life and if I can put a smile I my grandparent’s face, then that’s a moment I want to create.

During this holiday season, why not make sure to take time to appreciate those in your life who helped shaped your family for the better? Send them a card. Give them a call. Tell them you love them. And make them smile.

#countdowntochristmas

Countdown till Christmas – 6 days to go!

As I was thinking about my countdown today, I wanted to come up with something that I could personally offer to another person. I found many sites asking for cash donations but I didn’t want to just throw money at a problem. Not to say donating money is bad, it’s absolutely not, (though I do find it best to vet a charity organization before you give any money…)

So, I thought – what do I have to offer that could help another person…. Hm…..

Then today at work, someone asked me if I’m still reading scripts. For those new to my blog, I’ve worked as a professional script analyst for the past decade and though I’m trying to maneuver my way into writing rather than reading, this is something I get asked about quite often.

And this led me to deciding to offer my reading skills to someone who has a script they want read.

My offer is this – I will do FREE coverage for one script from someone who either comments on my Facebook post about this or for readers of my blog, comments below. I will be selecting one tomorrow at noon….

#countdowntochristmas

 

Countdown till Christmas – 8 days to go!

It’s interesting. I was supposed to do something today to help others but the reality is someone helped me and I thought, well… I’m going to write about that because it was just what I needed and it’s in the spirit of helpfulness and that’s exactly what this whole blog project is about….

It’s interesting the way the world works. And when the universe has a plan, I heed it.

A friend of mine reminded me today that there is positivity all around us and personal growth is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. This was the exact message I needed. I was feeling sorry for myself because my plans did not go as I had wanted. And as I was about to wallow in self pity, a friend of mine in so many words said, “hey, living and growing is a damn good day.” With that on my mind, I started to change my tune…

But wait, first –  what does that even mean – Personal growth? It sounds like a tag line at the end of a weight loss commercial, right? Or maybe a line for a radio jingle?

In all seriousness though, when I took a moment to stop and think about personal growth, I realized that growing is really the only option, because otherwise I’d be dying… (or stagnant at the very best…)

Bob Dylan once said (or sung, I’m not entirely sure), “He not busy being born is being dying.”

Have truer words been said/sung? As I thought about this, I begin to understand what Dylan meant. If we don’t grow, we wither.

Well…… Screw that.

I’m not gonna wither.

Think about it… Even if you mess up (no matter how bad), if you learn and grow, then you’re living!

Thank you, Chris. And thank you, Universe. I needed this message.

Though today did not turn out as I had expected… life swirled around me and bashed my plans to a pulp, and loved ones were still in my life and put a smile on my face and made me remember something Abraham Lincoln once said:

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Life will continually throw us lemons. Perhaps not as “bad” as those in Lincoln’s day, but lemons nonetheless.

As my friend reminded me today though, there’s no reason not to take those lemons and turn them into fancy little tarts that put a smile on everyone’s face….

Eight days till Christmas…. oh my! what will we learn till then?!

Spread the Love

When I married my husband a few months ago, I glimpsed into a future world of love, a love that years ago I wasn’t sure existed. Every day he shows me what it means to love and be loved.

I can’t say I’ve always been particularly closed off to love but I also can’t say I’ve been the type to welcome it in with open arms either. I’m 38 so I know that I’m part of the group “who waited to get married.”

I used to think love was complicated. I used to think love meant pain. I focused more on me than on finding someone else to love.

Ah, youth. And my early thirties.

The universe smiled on me though, taught me some lessons and then introduced me to the man I’ll be with till, well… it decides to take him back I suppose. But at present, I’ll focus on the here and now. Which leads me to this blog post.

Though I have been given this gift, I sometimes fail to always recognize it and appreciate it. I’ve found myself taking love for granted recently. And I’ve had moments of feeling anger over stupid things.  I’ve spoken to people in my life not from a place of love but from a darker place and at times when I could have projected warmth and understanding, I chose distance and lack of care.

What better time to realize this and want to change it than during the holidays?

I want to walk the talk though. And I’d love to invite you along with me as I do another blog project. (For past ones, click here, here and here.)

Starting tomorrow, December 1, I’ll be counting down the days until Christmas with a daily blog post detailing a way I’ve spread love and put it out in the world.

I realize love can be defined in more ways than maybe any other word used but for purposes of this blog project, I’ll be using the word to mean expressions of kindness and good will.

We live in a world that is far from perfect. People get hurt and die every day, in horrific ways. That is the reality of life. So why not try to balance it with acts of love? And maybe if we begin to do it consciously, it will become part of the fabric of who we are.

So why not meet me here tomorrow (posts will go up at various times but will be daily) and begin this journey with me? Let’s spread the love!