Friday, December 20, 2013

What Makes You Smile?

I am starting tonight's post off as originally intended... a post about what makes people smile. The idea spun off of asking that very question on one of my Facebook pages yesterday. I was feeling kind of overwhelmed and frustrated with the lack of time I had to finish all that I have to do this week. (Can you say near breakdown? YEP ME!) Bottom line is that I needed to smile so I quickly posted "What makes you smile?" on my personal page and the comments began pouring in. My initial reason for posting was because any time I can make someone else smile and think positive, I cheer up... it's a win win. Weird perhaps, but it's how I am wired. I am the same way with shopping. I can shop for myself but the feeling I have at the end  is not that great.

I mean sure... I may like the shirt I bought or feel sassy in the new heels I own, but I actually end up feeling guilty for buying something for myself when I did not really need it. I am insanely practical which is a blessing AND a curse.

Now, flip the scenario and give me a reason to shop for someone else? I get excited, empowered and can shop until I am broke and not even blink. (Been there, done that, have the bank statements to prove it.) So, as the day went on, my mood changed as people posted what made them happy. It was awesome... because not one person said "things" or "gadgets" or nice cars or buying fancy clothes. In fact many people said kindness... small gestures, kind words, family, their children. It made me smile because when we dig deep down we KNOW that material things don't make us smile, they merely help us feel like we fit in. We give up time with the things that make us smile for things that have no real value... how crazy is that?

It's Christmas,  a lot of people have very little... some have nothing, but when you still have things that make you smile isn't THAT what matters? Don't worry so much about buying gifts people in your life don't need or want, don't stress over things that don't matter. Focus on time with family, loving and supporting others and perhaps helping someone in need... a complete stranger even, because THAT is what Christmas is all about.

It brings me back to just a few years ago.. Christmas 2009 when I literally had $100 left for Christmas after paying my bills. I had 4 children, one who was only 2 months old. I was a single mom feeling defeated by the holiday stress. I sent my youngest three to their Dad's and told him to do "Santa" because I could not. My oldest and I had no plans for Christmas Eve and it was looking like bologna sandwiches for Christmas dinner. On Christmas Eve morning as I sulked in my sadness I said to my daughter "hey... we have $100 dollars and that will buy a ton for homeless people, lets go shopping and collect stuff out of the house and garage and go deliver gifts to the homeless tomorrow" ... that is exactly what we did. We only spent $10 of that money on ourselves for a lunch at Five Guys. We bought toiletries at the Dollar Tree and went Goodwill hunting for gloves, hats and warm jackets. We collected unused items and clothing from our own garage and I filled up the back of a friend's Suburban as if it were Santa's sleigh. We had a BLAST! On Christmas morning I made pancakes and we set out on our journey to find homeless people in need and gave them a Merry Christmas. It was honestly THE BEST Christmas I EVER had and my daughter agrees.

Now for my detour which fits in perfectly here... this morning I woke up to a private post from a fairly new friend who lost her home and everything in it yesterday after it burned to the ground just days before Christmas. She is a hard working single mother who has two teen boys and who also takes care of her mother. She was not asking for money or anything... she simply told us the news and said that  "I know there has to be a bright side to this. I know God doesn't let things happen to you that you can't handle." I was truly CRUSHED and recalled that Christmas when I felt that I had nothing.

I immediately started a relief fund for her and am hoping to give her some hope and cheer this Christmas season. When you lose everything material you really cling onto and appreciate what you do have; and that is hope, love, support, family and friends. I am hoping that you can find it in your heart to help a stranger tonight... you don't have to have a lot of money because every dollar counts as well as every share, tweet, and pin. There are still many good people in this crazy, corrupt world, and it is up to us to show others that being nice and generous is NOT weird, it's COOL and maybe by doing this we do our part to fix humanity. No... I can't save the world but I can sure die trying and so can you.

Here is the link to the relief fund I have set up. PLEASE help me raise as MUCH as possible.You may not have any money to give but the time it takes to click "share" counts too! All of YOU can be a part of true Christmas giving. MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Congratulations to Robert Dodd... one of the ones who posted a response to my post "What makes you happy?"  His name was picked and he has won an amazon gift card and a signed copy of my book.