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Gobble, gobble, gobble….

Thanksgiving at the Trolls

Thanksgiving at the Trolls (Photo credit: martha_chapa95)

As a tried and true Canuck, I’m celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. This means getting together with family and friends and way, WAY too much food. Friday I had the great fortune to get together with a dear friend whom I met during my sentence in our post secondary institution – err, I mean, my time in high school. While visiting with her parents for the holiday they were kind enough to open their doors to little ol’ me too. It was loads of fun sitting and chatting with them all.
Yesterday I believe I resurfaced from my food-induced coma around 7 p.m. following a typically, large holiday lunch. No one should ever go hungry when eating with this family. If they do, it’s their own fault. What started out as a meal for three, turned into dinner for 8. So the menu grew too. Today is catch-up day. Painting, and more painting, but some time for a little fun too. It would have been mom and dad’s 46th anniversary today. Holidays are always a little bitter-sweet now that mom’s gone. She had some big shoes to fill when it came to holiday meals. So while it’s nice to have family and friends around, there’s still a little something missing for us. I saw that on my dad’s face at times yesterday too. But we carry on…as she’d have wanted, no, insisted.


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Time waits for no one….

Flowers 3

Flowers 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last 12 months have been dotted with a few monumental events. My milestone birthday, acceptance into a prestigious art show in the U. S., another seminar with my mentor and favourite artist, starting a campaign to raise awareness for women’s cancers (the inside story)….I’ve enjoyed a few benchmarks.

On this anniversary of mom’s passing I can’t help but imagine how she’d have reacted throughout it all had she been here to witness it. I know she’d be proud…she was always quick to brag, much to my chagrin. There’s been much that she’s missed this past dozen months, but not more than I’ve missed her.

While today is tough, it’s been made brighter by some very special people. One who has been patient with me as I move through a few different (and not overly pleasant) moods. Dear friends have sent me notes to let me know they’re thinking of me. Another sent a song they thought could offer comfort and one friend called just to talk. Without them today would have been much harder.


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The Shirt Off My Back


Clothing (Photo credit: Nikita Kashner)

After sorting through my clothing (honestly, how many black t-shirts does one really need) I bagged up the seemingly monstrous pile on the floor. I do this fairly regularly, at least yearly. My husband has a rule, “one in, one out.” Unless it’s MY clothing and it’s “one in, TWO out!” Don’t worry, I don’t listen. It’s all in good fun and as styles change and my clothing requirements for work shift, it’s liberating to get rid of some of the stuff I don’t really wear. It also makes room for more! I inherited quite a few things of my mom’s after she passed away this summer. Some of it, I just couldn’t part with at the time. It was too soon, so I hung on to it. Some of it was indeed a part of my wardrobe maybe a year or two ago. It was just time to let it go.

Choosing what organization would find these formerly styling threads a new home is always easy. There are many organizations that will gladly take your old duds off your hands. Today, I donated mine to the Canadian Diabetes Association. I have family and friends that are diabetic making the decision easy.

Now, where did I see that 60% off all sweaters sale again?

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Click for a Cause!


Donations (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

Can you say CRABBY? That was me today. Between a splitting headache and an egregiously delayed printing shipment for work, I was impatient to say the least. Time for a break. I headed out to the local Tim Horton’s to get myself a tea. It seemed a good time to apply the principle that altruistic behaviour improves mood. Something had to help. My intent was to pay for the order of the person behind me, however, no person drove in behind me! Drat. Foiled! So I drove through town with my tea wondering what I could do. It’s a small town, it didn’t take me long to drive through and head home. So instead, I worked on a painting that’s been on the board for a couple of weeks. That’s when inspiration hit.

I’d heard of sites that donate to charity based on clicks received on their websites. I decided to check it out. I found this site called Freenuts that listed 10 good sites to do this very thing.

First I tried Free Rice. This site allows you to learn something all while doing something to help end hunger. For each correct answer, you donate 10 grains of rice to needy people. (Who counts them anyway?) This was addictive. I quickly got caught up in the vocabulary challenge. I love words and it was a lot of fun to test my knowledge, all without even creating an account! Which you can do if you’d like to keep track of your donations.

Next I travelled to Care2. After creating an account I could get started generating donations to rain forests, baby seals, animal rescue, oceans, wolves (notice a theme?). Considering my penchant for wildlife and nature I was instantly drawn to that and began happily clicking away to save our natural world. I learned that my clicks helped feed a rescued primate, protected 11,000 sq. ft. of big cat habitat, saved 7.4 sq. ft. of rainforest today and more.

Then I went to Games that Give where you can choose games that sponsors donate money to charity as you play the games listed on the site. Oh my….dangerously addictive. It’s a great way to spend some time and you don’t have to feel guilty, you’re doing it for a good cause!!

The age of the internet has opened up doors to increase awareness and now increase sponsorship to help very worthy causes. I encourage you to give these acts of kindness a try. They’re free and can be done in the comfort of your own home. For a day when you’re feeling crabby like I was, it’s a good way to spend a little time.


Food for thought

We didn’t always have a lot when I was a child. We never went hungry, but I remember times when mom would carefully plan her grocery list to make sure that she didn’t surpass the money she had in her purse. Things were tight sometimes and mom was a genius at keeping a running cash receipt, tax and all, in her head as we walked through the supermarket. There are many people who struggle like this or even more so, relying on the kindness of strangers who donate food to local food banks. My family always somehow managed to get by but there are many others for whom donations are a godsend.

A few items for the food bank.

Every year, our postmaster (err, post mistress?) organizes a toy and food drive for the Salvation Army in our area. She has done this for a number of years and it is always a huge success. So today, when I stopped to buy milk I also picked up a few things to donate to the food drive – some pasta, canned meat, oatmeal, jam…even gum, then delivered it to our local post office.

Last year she raised $785 in cash, collected 150 toys and 514 food items.

If you are able, check out what your local food bank needs. Typically, jams, juice, lunchbox snacks, cereals, canned meat, canned fruit and veggies pastas and baby foods are in constant need.

Every little bit helps a family in need.

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Giving just a little bit more…

Giving helps not only those you give to, but helps you as well. A study out of the University of British Columbia sited that those who spent money on others, regardless of the amount they spent, reported feeling happier with their lives. I’d say, that it indeed is true. Today I added just a little extra to the donation to the collection plate at church.  I’m not a regular and it just seemed appropriate that I give just a little bit more than I normally would.

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The Colour of Kindness

Kindness Blooms

Considering, I’ve spent quite a little time gathering ideas from various web sites and gathering inspiration from others who’ve done similar acts of kindness, surprisingly, I didn’t plan my first day. As strange as it may sound, I just couldn’t decide what to do. For my family, today is a significant day. It would have been mom’s 63rd birthday. Traditionally, I’d buy her a poinsettia, or some other “Christmassy” plant and help her put up the tree today. It wasn’t until I was on my way to town to run some errands that I decided on what I’d do.

I was nervous. What if I get caught or someone recognizes me? But really, WHY would that worry me? Is it so unusual to do nice things for strangers? Apparently.

I stopped at the local market and picked up some small plants – hardy ones that could weather a little chill. At the dollar store I picked up little cards and wrote the following note….”ACTS OF HOLIDAY KINDNESS. You’ve been ELFED! Merry Christmas!” and placed the little card inside the plant. I waited in the parking lot and watched for my targets, waiting to find someone who seemed just a little down or grumpy or generally preoccupied and gently placed the plant on their front window after they made their way to into the store. I had people watch me curiously as I went about my mission. Some smiling and even one person looking at me as if I had three heads.

The nervousness faded and was replaced with warmth as I travelled home. I already wanted to do something else!

While I was at the market I also purchased a violet in mom’s favourite colour which I’ll keep with me. Happy Birthday mom.