Not All Horses Eat Apples: A Lesson in Giving

Atticus refusing an apple slice

Not all horses eat apples. This was a heartbreaking realization for me, as my entire childhood was filled with dreams of sharing apples with my horses before we took long, rides through rolling pastures. Today my dreams are still to take long rides through rolling pastures, but no longer do I picture my herd running happily toward me ready to nibble red and greed apples from the palm of my outstretched hand.

In fact, I own two horses that generally turn their noses up at apples or any treat that is not peppermint. On rare occasions, Star will give apples a chance if they are cut into thin slices. Atticus just plain walks away or spits them out. If I offer a treat that is apple flavored, both Star and Atticus will turn their heads in search of something better.

Star walking away from an offered apple slice

Winn Dixie is whole other story. She will scarf down any apples that are offered and scoops up those refused by her herd-mates. How could I have been so wrong about apples and horses?

Have you ever pictured giving something to someone and knew it was going to be perfect, only to have them reject or refuse the gift?

Why does it hurt so badly when our gifts are rejected? Why is it so difficult for us to digest that what we thought was just right doesn’t resonate with the recipient? Why don’t all horses like apples?

The answer to these questions is simple. Sometimes our hearts are in the right places, but our minds are on different trains of thought than that of the one we are trying to gift.

Continue reading “Not All Horses Eat Apples: A Lesson in Giving”

Pansies in a Tin Cup: Memory in a Tattoo

Have you ever noticed someone’s tattoo and thought, “That’s different. I wonder why they got that?”

Interesting enough, it is because of an artist’s willingness to talk to three, crazy ladies sitting at a bar, that I came to see such a tattoo and definitely wanted to know the story behind it.

The artist’s name was Maddy. One of the three crazy ladies at the bar was me.

Maddy’s intriguing tattoo was pansies in a tin cup.

The story behind the tattoo stared when Maddy’s grandparents Kerry and Nancy welcomed the first of their six children into the world. Kerry wanted to surprise his wife with flowers after the birth of their son. He did not have money to purchase long-stem roses or a fancy arrangement from the flower shop, so he gathered a handful of pansies and delivered them to his bride in a tin cup from their pantry. The sentiment was well received and continues to be a story of simplicity and love passed down to their children and grandchildren.

Continue reading “Pansies in a Tin Cup: Memory in a Tattoo”

Changing Someone

Changing Someone

When we begin to change someone,
the change is not always noticeable.
The changes rarely happen instantly
or make a huge racket.
An extra giggle in our laugh or a sweet curl at the corner of their mouth,
an higher hop in your step or a wider swing in their swag.

When we begin to change someone,
the change is not always noticeable.
An extra plate becomes a common setting next to yours.
Everyday the shoes by the door number a pair more.
Schedules shift.
Your circle of friends decreases, blends, expands.

When we begin to change someone,
the change is not always noticeable.
Lives start to melt into a schedule in sync.
Habits begin to form hand-in-hand with routine.
The dishes may start to make it to the sink;
the laundry may pile itself in the right places.

When we begin to change someone,
the change is not always noticeable.
When the changes start to make themselves known,
Those that have changed are not always happy with how they have grown.
The deviation from their norms can lead to bitterness.
They did not want to change, but they wanted to be with you. Continue reading “Changing Someone”

Start Holiday De-Stressing Now

when-the-tree-is-gone

Holiday StressSome evil person posted this Elf meme on their Facebook feed the other day and I wanted to unfriend them but they are related to me and I like them.

Unfriending people can add additional stress at the holidays, and this article is all about holiday de-stressing.

 

In keeping with the 12 Days of Christmas, I am proposing 12 Steps to De-stress for the Holidays:

Step 1: To begin take a deep cleansing breath.

Step 2: After you remember to start breathing again, I want you to say these words, “Happiness is the greatest gift I can give. A stressed out me does not make a holiday happy. I will not add unhappiness to my holidays.”

See. Don’t you feel better?

Step 3: Write down one gift you will give yourself. (This does not have to be a material thing.)

Step 4: Make a list of all the other people for whom you want and/or need to get gifts. (These do not have to be material things.)

Step 5: Make a calendar of all events you KNOW will absolutely be on your agenda.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 1 & 2.

Step 7: Establish a budget.

  • How much will you spend on each person?
  • How much do you plan to give to your church or charities?
  • How much should you plan to spend on extra party foods and drinks?
  • How much are your travel costs?

Add those costs up.

Step 8: Repeat Steps 1 & 2. Continue reading “Start Holiday De-Stressing Now”

The Gift of Giving

 

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After reading You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, I was inspired to read other publications Jen recommended in her book. Cami Walker’s 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life was one of the books recommended by Sincero. In her book Walker tells the story of how a prescription of intentional giving and journaling has helped her battle the pain and hindrances caused by her multiple sclerosis. It is a powerful story and really propelled me toward a stronger giving purpose.

Taking the 29 Gifts Challenge was a positively impactful experience. For 29 days I intentionally gave gifts and journaled about my giving. The act of giving and reflecting on the impacts made through giving made my life more meaningful.

Excitedly I joined the 29 Gifts Community at http://www.29gifts.org and began to follow Cami Walker and the 29 Gifts page on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/29Gifts/. Both of these connections inspired me as I saw that there were many others who had taken the 29 Gifts Challenge and were motivated by the book’s message. Continue reading “The Gift of Giving”

How to Treat a Bad Day – Wise Words Wednesday

How to Treat a Bad Day – Wise Words Wednesday

how-to-treat-a-bad-day

Bad days seem to be contagious. When you have one bad day, you seem to become a bad day magnet

Bad days stink.

It is easy to say, “Tomorrow is another day,” or “Cheer up. It could always be worse,” but we know those thoughts don’t defeat the dreariness in some cases. The best medicine for a case of the blues is to treat yourself though kindness or charity.

Doing something kind or generous can be the first step in kicking cloudy thoughts to the curb. Not only will your actions help someone else have a better day, but you will quickly find that your friendliness has the same infectious inclinations that the bad days bring. One kind act makes is a lot easier to motivate ourselves to feel accomplished and lovable.

If you aren’t going for the sweet, touchy, feely remedy, remember Mercutio’s crude advice for Romeo after Rosaline’s rejection in The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio roughly advised his friend, “If love is rough with you, be rough with love.” Mercutio’s advice wasn’t exactly dealing with how to treat a bad day, but we can adapt it to fit our treatment purposes. Continue reading “How to Treat a Bad Day – Wise Words Wednesday”

Greatest Prison = What Others Think

Greatest Prison = What Others Think: Wise Words Wednesday

greatest-fear-what-people-think

As I have begun my holiday shopping, my concern for the reactions of others has grown to its typical holiday height. Way too big!

Gifts are to be given out of love, not out of fear for what the recipient will say when they receive it. Similarly, our actions should be done out of love, not because of what others will think.

Who cares what others are thinking? Most of the time our fears are nowhere near what is on the minds of those we worry about anyway.

Don’t imprison yourself with fear.

Don’t hold back in your giving because of your insecurities.

Now I can’t guarantee that all gift recipients will receive with joy, or whatever reaction you are expecting, but I can guarantee that giving with an open heart will open your life to tremendous charity and gratitude.

Set yourself free from concerns about the opinions of others. Release yourself from worries about the words and thoughts of others. Liberate your love by giving without reservations and acting without self-doubt.

Who cares what others think? Love enough to share with them anyway.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. Giving gifts is a great way to show you care. Giving without reservations is a great way to show you love.