Tag Archives: giving

47. Nothing says “thank you” like a thank you card.

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Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to have some special people in my life do some very nice, unexpected things for me. And wouldn’t you know it, I was all out of thank-you cards. In my 20s, IThank you post think the only time I sent a thank you note was after a job interview. Thankfully, I realized how important it is to be thoughtful. I also learned that a hand-written thank you card not only acknowledges the person to whom you are thankful to; it also acknowledges how special you are. Just taking the time to buy and write them shows that you are grateful and acknowledge the giving of others and opens you up to receiving more. I know that’s waxing a little philosophical, but I couldn’t help but think it when I finally bought three sets of stunning cards at Papyrus. There’s something to be said about going into the store, which I did. Here are a few you can check out online:

http://www.papyrusonline.com/occasion/thank-you.html

While it may take more time and effort than simply shooting someone an email or text, I think it’s worth it. In fact, I’m looking forward to when I’ll have to go out and buy some more.

Word to the wise: Bring more gratitude into your life by buying some really nice thank you cards – and sending them. If you’ve ever received one, you know what I mean. It makes my day and it will make someone else’s, too.

Have you written any thank you cards recently? Who were you thanking and why? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

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Guest blog: Get out of your comfort zone

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Our guest blogger this week is one of my favorite authors, Michele Wolfe. She has recently written a book in the new adult genre called The Three Graces: “College juniors Jessie, Isabel and Sara are linked in an unlikely friendship by visits to hidden places only they can see. Together, on a trip to Hearst Castle in California, an earth-shaking encounter with a stunning stature in the gardens binds them to the spirits of the Three Graces; Brilliance, Joy and Bloom.” There’s lots of life lessons for these young women as they learn about the true meaning of friendship and make some fascinating discoveries along the way. Here are Michele’s thoughts on getting out of your comfort zone:

I live in a 1922 bungalow-style house on one of the many hills of my Echo Park neighborhood in LA. The other day I wasthumbnail washing my car with a bucket of soap and water in front of my house. A petite woman in her 80s, with the help of a cane, began hobbling up my hill. She stopped once, probably to catch her breath, and had almost passed me by when I made some comment about the steep climb. She stopped and looked at me, and I stopped my washing and took a good look at her, too. Her clothes were frayed and worn, her eyes filmy, her face wrinkled, and her teeth almost all missing.

We chatted for a few minutes. She used to live in the neighborhood she said, but had to move downtown. I knew it certainly wasn’t to a fancy loft or apartment. Probably skid row housing, if that. She asked for a dollar for the bus ride back. I ran into the house, but my wallet was empty of cash, not even a dollar. I raided my teenage son’s coin jar and managed to scrape together five dollars. When I handed over the coins, she pressed her hand to mine in gratitude. Then she hugged me. She was overcome.

That moment took me back to a time in my life when the touch of a hand or hug from a grateful homeless person was a daily gift. I lived and worked almost two years in shelters in Denver and LA. Both experiences opened my eyes and changed my life.

For the better. Was I overwhelmed, out of my depths, scared witless at times during those two years? You bet.

Being blonde and blue-eyed and having grown up in a middle-class suburb had kept me safe and secure in a nice little bubble. So living in a shelter, cutting vegetables for big vats of soup, handing out bandages and alcohol wipes to the poor of skid row, showed me real suffering and injustice; a reality I hadn’t truly understood before.

I learned compassion. A way of being we often harden our hearts against as we make it through our busy, tumultuous lives. Especially when we are trying to finish college or start a career. We get caught up.

I also learned to value time in the present moment. Whether it’s ten minutes, an hour or an afternoon, opportunity awaits. Reaching outside ourselves, outside our comfort zone, to connect with someone in need, is human dignity and respect made visible.

And you don’t have to have loads of money, like Oprah or Angelina Jolie to do it. Just coins from a jar. Just a moment of your time. Just a step outside. Look around. It won’t take long to find a person or a place in need. In need of you.

To read more from Michele, or to purchase her new book, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Three-Graces-Michele-Wolfe-ebook/dp/B00KTOTRJM

authormichelewolfe.com

38. When you let your guard down, be prepared that someone is going to stomp through your gates.

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In my teens and 20s, I was a notorious guard let-downer. At work, in love, and with every new person I met. I was dreamstime_s_28505506often told that I wore my heart on my sleeve. While being open to all experiences was at many times enriching and joyful, it was also hurtful and disappointing when someone stomped on my heart or betrayed my trust. When you’re young, it could be argued that this is a right of passage. And eventually, you’ll learn to keep your guard up more. Or maybe always, depending on how many times you’ve been through the ringer by the time you hit 30. Some people have developed strategies Sun Tzu would commend to protect themselves. Although even he might argue that the walls we make to keep other people out often wind up keeping us locked inside. But the thing is, as I much as try not to, try so hard not to be that girl who lets her guard down, I still do. Because when it gets right down to it, would I rather be the person with the fortress around my heart or the one who lets her guard down from time to time to discover new friendships, deeper intimacy, the possibility of true of love and, of course, a world of hurt. Yin and yang, as it were. I will say that if you’ve just been stomped on, it does help to keep plenty of Haagen-Dazs in the house. But going for a walk or reading a book can work just as well. So can a conversation with a good friend – even though you know they’ll tell you that that’s what you get for wearing your heart on your sleeve.

Word to the wise: It’s good to stand watch, but sometimes you have to listen to your heart. While it may not always be right, at least you know you have one.

What do you think about letting your guard down? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

 

35. Be a good guest.

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Surprisingly, from my own personal experience, this is harder than it sounds. Probably because it means different things to????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? different people. And some people just don’t think about it at all. C’mon. You know whom I’m talking about. Like the guests that come to your barbecue where you provide everything: food, drinks, appetizers, etc. and just ask them if they can bring dessert. When they come, they’re late and say they need to leave early because they have another party to attend. When said guests leave, they ask you if they can take what’s left of the dessert they brought (which consists of one box of ice cream sandwiches). And you know they’re taking it to the other party. This is what I call class. Another example on a smaller scale is when a friend is kind enough to invite you over for dinner. I wouldn’t dream of showing up empty handed (unless I was mauled by a bear). And fortunately, most people I know don’t. A bottle of wine goes a long way toward being a good guest. And so does a bottle of anything you know your host drinks. Of course, being a good houseguest has its own set of rules and there’s a reason I don’t have too many of them. Here’s a nice list of what you can do to make your stay more pleasurable for your host and for you: http://www.cozi.com/live-simply/10-rules-being-good-house-guest.

Word to the wise: Getting invited is nice. Being invited again is even nicer. Make sure you’re the person someone wants to have back. It’s not that hard to do and your social life will soar.

Ever had a bad guest? Ever been one? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”

16. Give to charity, even when you think you’re broke.

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While I’d like to take credit for thinking of this one, it’s really Suze Orman who inspired me to do this in my own life. I had read her hbook, “The Courage to Be Rich, Creating a Life of Financial and Spiritual Abundance,” and this was one of her ideas that really stood out. Basically, the thought is if you give to someone else, it makes you feel like you have something to give, and that feels good. So even if you can’t afford a chai latte every day, when you really think about it, there are people and animals that are much worse off than you. Her book also states that by giving to charity, you will become richer by doing so. I think that’s true both spiritually and materially. Even if you have just a little, for someone less fortunate, it can go a long way. Maybe it’s that whole law of the universe kind of a thing. When you give, you get back. The true challenge I’ve found is not the giving – it’s who to give to. You want to make sure that your hard-earned money is going where it really needs to go. And not into the pocket of some administrator.

Word to the wise: Give a little and you’ll get a lot. But just make sure you do your research. A great place to start is www.charitywatch.org. It rates charities on how they spend your money. And hey, anything you give is also a tax write-off. Now don’t you feel richer already?

Have any favorite charities? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Should Know.”