A Gift With Multiple Benefits

Crafts for good causesIt’s been a month since Christmas, but hiding under my bed is a gift I’ve been anticipating since before the holidays.

I first heard about Little Loving Hands from author Glennon Doyle Melton’s Momastery newsletter. It was one of her picks for “Good Gifts.”

This week, I finally gave my son and I the gift of doing something together for someone else. Inside the box, was two crafts: 1) wooden hearts for painting into memory cards 2) felt for creating a “Love” pillow After they are completed, the handmade gifts go to Enchanted Makeovers for children and families in homeless shelters.

It was the perfect craft for my three year old. It gave us something to do together. It helped teach him the importance of compassion. And after it’s done, you send it off so you don’t have to worry about more crafts filling up your home.

He says our next big project should be building a house for the families.

There’s a lot not working well in the world. This will not solve everything. But teaching my child empathy and spending quality time together makes me feel like I’m cultivating hope in the world. And I am grateful for that.

Little Loving Hands

*I was not paid to write this post. I just really love it. 

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The Gift of Creativity

Painting

I have and continue to struggle with this. How do I put paintbrush to canvas, fingers to keyboard and present my thoughts and beliefs to a large audience when I’m not sure what will happen to it once I release it into the world. In other words, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

If I create and no one reads, sees or hears it, does it matter?

As a self-employed creative person, I rarely get feedback except for the negative kind. No response is often a sign of a job well done. But at a very deep part of my soul, I wonder if what I’m doing is having an impact. Would I still be able to create without validation or the knowledge that I’m making an ounce of difference?

But then I read this:

I think sometimes we get confused and believe that our gift must bring us money or success or fame. Sometimes those things do happen, but not usually. The only thing a gift needs to do is bring you joy. You must find the thing that brings you joy in the doing of that thing, and not worry about the outcome.

Writing brings me joy and satisfaction. My gift has happened to turn into a career, and parts of that are wonderful and parts of that are not. I am happiest not when I am congratulated on a book deal, but when I have finished an essay that says what I mean. That’s all. Expressing myself effectively brings me great joy. You will know your gift because it will bring you joy and satisfaction, even if it’s hard for you to do.” – Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry on Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life 

That’s it! It doesn’t matter if you receive validation, applause or recognition. What matters is the feeling you get when you exercise your gift. You may feel a tingle of excitement, a surge of empowerment, a quiet knowing, or a feeling of unfurling your soul.

Allowing your gift to come through you is a gift to the world so don’t block it. Give yourself the joy and pleasure of doing what you’re most passionate about and you will have also discovered your life purpose.

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3 Quotes That Will Help You Confront Almost Anything

Finally confronted my fear of speaking. My table at the HMSA and Mom’s in Hawaii Mom-O-Rama event.

This year has been bursting with challenges most of which have been stuffed into the month of June. But I’ve never been one to turn down an opportunity out of fear. Instead I’ve bombarded my inner critic with positive verbiage from the likes of

1. Sue Monk Kidd on Super Soul Sunday, in which she says:

Well, you know, as I get older, I try to love the uncertainties more than I do the certainties.”

To embrace what we don’t know is one of our greatest challenges isn’t it? And yet when I look back-my wedding day, the birth of my son,  my grandmother’s funeral, this past Mom-O-Rama talk with Moms in Hawaii and HMSA have also been a life changing experience. It’s what makes life feel magical. Although I’m often full of anticipation and fear, I’m almost always grateful for the growth and opportunity it gave me.

2. Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art continues to push me to face my fears professionally.

The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear, then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist…

The pro keeps coming on. He beats Resistance at its own game by being even more resolute and even more implacable than it is.”

Pressfield teaches me that my goal isn’t to wait until I’m fearless. My goal is to understand that fear is part of the process. It’s to realize that part of being a professional is to accept the discomfort, plan, prepare and then even though I might feel unworthy, inexperienced and awkward and do my best anyway.

3. Glennon Doyle Melton teaches me, shocks me, and makes me laugh until I’m weeping as I read each highlighted passage to my husband in Carry On Warrior:
Every little girl is told at some point that the world does not want to see the ugly, afraid, secret version of her. Sometimes the people who tell her this are advertisers, sometimes they’re people close to her, and sometimes they’re just her own demons.

And so she must be told by someone she trusts that this hiding is both necessary and unncessary.

She must be taught that, in fact, some people will want and need to hear about her secret self as badly as they need to inhale. Because reading her truth will make them less afraid of their own secret selves. And she must be taught that telling her truth will make her less afraid too. Because maybe her secret self is actually her own personal prophet.”
Her words make me feel brave-not by doing anything amazingly courageous, but just by virtue of sharing my truth. It pushed me to express personal experiences that my normal introverted self would cringe at sharing. I’m so grateful for this. It helped me to realize that some people may not accept this gift of honesty with kindness, compassion or understanding, but it’s worth saying for the ones that need to hear it and will consequently receive it graciously.
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