The value of giving

I’ve been thinking a lot about generosity lately. It’s a value I want my sons to have. I also know the best way to give them that is to model the behaviour myself.

I love the messages that come out of this post. The superhero who made the bad guys dinner because they were stealing food (and therefore must be hungry) melted my heart. It reminds me of the time I was trying to explain to my son why the guy we were walking past was homeless.

Him: Mummy why is that man sleeping there?

Me: Well he isn’t as lucky as us. He doesn’t have a bed of a home to live in.

Him: Shall we find him a house mummy?

Me: He needs money for a house and he doesn’t have any.

Him: Why can’t we just give him some of our money mummy?

Good point kiddo. Good point.

Reading up on generosity I found some startling facts and figures, like the fact that research shows it’s actually better to donate directly to the poor. This Ted video  has some interesting ideas on direct giving if you’re interested.

Today I gave some money to a homeless family who had spent the night in the subway. I gave the small amount of cash I had on me. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to buy the mom and her four daughters breakfast. Unfortunately the three year year old was at school and the three month old was more interested in chewing his fingers to see me modelling the behaviour. Oh well, maybe advent of good things should become year of good things… Actually let me think about that!

(Almost) a tree-mendous day

imageThe efforts with the cantankerous three year old worked a little yesterday, not so much today. There were meltdowns over clothes, shoes, breakfast, TV… The list goes on. So we did the only thing that works on days like this. We got outside.

It’s giving him a personality transplant. We got about three steps out of the building and he was like a different child.

Luckily we’re just one block away from Central Park. He was angling for the playground but I knew that running around in nature is so much better for him (and all 3 year olds), so we found sticks went on secret ‘hiding missions’ behind trees and bushes and had running races around the lake. It’s like having our own 800-acre garden. And we’re thankful for it. So today  for my one good thing I made our annual donation to the park. I’ve already mentioned that it’s been an expensive year this year, but for keeping me and my child sane, the park deserves my support.

Back home we were all feeling much better so our attention turned to trees of a different kind. The Salvation Army Christmas playlist was on, the decorations were out. Only thing missing was the mince pies!

Ant tips? What gets your LO’s out of a grump?

 

A kind act closer to home

imageFor the past few months I have had an inwardly smugness about me. All those people who warned me about jealousy over the baby. Ha. Not my wonderful son. No way. He’s been amazing with his little brother. And then…

The last few days he’s been having a hard time. We’ve had Legos launched across the room and more shouting and yelling than we usually have in a few months. Luckily (?!) he’s taking it out on me and not his little bro, so I am thankful for that!

The thing is, he’s not happy. And that means none of us are happy.

Cue plenty of pinterest reseach, and questions to other parents… What can I do?

These scientifically-proven happiness tips for kids are great. 

Give them enough free play, (tick) praise their efforts not the outcome, (tick) and model happiness yourself.  (Erm…)

I love the great way they explain this:

...you know how when you’re on a plane and the flight attendants tell you to put your own oxygen mask on first so that you’re capable to taking care of your children? Same thing applies to happiness. 

So I’m planning on being kinder to myself. Booking that massage I’ve had a voucher for for the past six months, going out with the girls for wine, getting an early night when I can. For today though I really needed to focus on him.

On the advice of a good friend today’s act of kindness has been some quality one-on-one time with mama. Does it count? I don’t know. Who makes the rules? All I know is it will make my son happier and he’ll be nicer to the people around him. It’s a ripple effect.

So this morning we left daddy, the dog and baby brother in the park and went on an adventure to the East side. We discovered a new playground, had a breakfast picnic in a make believe house, pushed his favourite toy on the swings, went on a stick hunt and much more. Then when we got home I got down on the floor and played Lego leaving dad to take care of the baby.

Got two kiddos? Any advice on keeping the jealousy at bay and keeping them both happy?  And what helps keep you sane and your cup full (you can’t put from an empty one)?

Does a good deed count if it feels easy?

imageOur building management have made my advent good deeds easy this year. There’s a coat drive and toy drive. Two huge boxes in the lobby that we walk past at least twice a day. So of course we’ve put stuff in – two coats in the coat drive and two toys in the toy box. One of which kiddo number one selected from the Lego store. We did worry he would struggle to part with it when we got back to the building, but I’m happy to report that he dropped it straight into the box for children of veterans. He’s now obsessed with the box and wants to check in the morning if there are any more toys in there (and I suspect so he can check the Lego is still there!)

Usually doing a ‘good deed’ for the day makes me feel good… It’s my selfish reason for doing it, but this one just felt too easy. Does it still count of it’s as easy as dropping a few things into a box? Maybe they should all be this easy. That way we’d all be doing them on a daily basis and the world would be a little nicer for everyone.

Does it count though? What do you think?

 

 

Smile

Ever heard of RBF (Resting Bitch Face)? I hadn’t, until yesterday. But it turns out, I have one. Oh yes.

A resting bitch face is basically a scowl that you don’t know you’re wearing. Do you have one? Find out here.

My RBF is the reason my hubby often asks me what’s wrong when I am perfectly fine (and no, I don’t mean fine as in the fine you say when you mean anything but fine!)

It’s also the reason I often think ‘who the hell is that looking back at me?’ when I connect to FaceTime (It’s me. I’m just wearing that scowl I didn’t know about.)

Here are a few more things bothering people with a RBF.

So today for my one good thing, I tried to keep the RBF to a minimum and greet everyone I saw. Two or so years ago this would have been a pretty easy feat. It would have been my husband and kid, maybe the mail guy, maybe one of my neighbours, the people I worked with, the cashiers wherever I bought lunch and that’s about it. Today it’s a different story… (And pretty daunting for an INFJ.)

Before I’d even left the building this morning I shared the elevator with three people (just one good morning and smiles all round), then there was the doorman and porter on the way out. In the street there were numerous families on their way to school, people on their way to work and plenty of dog walkers in the park. By lunchtime I was a little horse. By three thirty my cheeks ached from smiling so much, and I was losing track. I accidentally said morning to a guy walking his five dogs and said hello twice to the same woman.

The response ranged from bemusement and bewilderment to downright rudeness. A lot of people flat-out ignored me. This is New York after all.

Unluckily for my husband I’ve worn out the smiles and my resting bitch face will be back on tonight (after I’ve said my final good evening to anyone in the elevator on the way home).

Have a good night.
Phew. Bitch face back on.

One more card for a very worthy cause

After yesterday’s post, the lovely Dallas from Skilledwithkids sent me a message about someone else To add to my Christmas card list this year.

Safyre Terry lost her whole family in fire when she was just 5 years old. She was discovered under her father’s body who died trying to protect her. I know. I KNOW.

This brave girl lost her daddy, and 3 younger siblings. She suffered burns across 75 percent of her body. She’s had multiple surgeries and lost a foot and a hand. And yet…

And yet all she wants for Christmas is some cards from around the world. So today I sent a card to Safyre, at:

P.O. Box 6126, Schenectady, NY 12306, USA

I’m sure she’ll appreciate it, but a card from NY to NY is not really a big deal. I know most of you guys reading are in the UK, and there’s also some of you in Brazil, and even further afield so please, please can you spare one Christmas card to make a little girl’s Christmas wish come true? Don’t put it off. Do it now. Thank you.

Send your card to: Safyre, P.O. Box 6126, Schenectady, NY 12306

Making merry – for the lonely and forgotten

imageTo anyone reading this who has two or more kids, I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise… Today was a tough day. For no particular reason (in fact both the baby and the pre-schooler slept well which is a first for a while!). There was whining, crying, shouting, screaming. And that was just me!

It got me thinking about my good thing… And I tried to come up with a way to keep us all entertained this afternoon whilst doing a kindness act for the day. And something to cheer us all up too.

One of my favourite things on last year’s Advent of Good Things was sending Christmas cards to people who ordinarily wouldn’t get them.

I definitely wanted to do it again but knew writing out cards wouldn’t be high on my son’s list of things to do. So we came up with a plan. He loves stickers – he spent a good two hours with a few sticker packs decorating some plain paper gift bags the other day (it was what gave me the idea for one of the fifty non-toy gift ideas)

So we made cards! We bought a few packs of Christmas stickers (which were reduced to 50cents) and some plain cards and envelopes, collected his ink pads and stamps and some crayons and got to work. I’m hoping the personal touch will help spread some holiday cheer to those who are without loved ones.

If you have spare cards, or have a child who wants to make some please, please do this. There are homes all over the world in the following list. Pick one. Pick a few. Pick them all. Just please do it. The ratio of effort in to joy out is immeasurable. Last year I received a few replies and it really brightened my day.

Here are the instructions copied from the Facebook page. (Please excuse formatting).

Below is a “list” of addresses for nursing facilities and other organizations worldwide that help the lonely and forgotten elderly. Here, you may collect the addresses and send cards, letters, postcards, photos, and/or small gifts that fit in an envelope.
Choose one address or many. It is always nice if you select addresses outside of your country, state or province if possible – just to make it a bit more interesting or exciting for the recipient.
You may send one card, or many in one large envelope or a flat rate box from the Post Office. Address it to the home or organization listed along with the street address etc. If you are only sending one card – add “to any resident” or “to any lonely resident”. The residents themselves are not likely to see the envelope if you are worried about offending them. Also, always add to the front of the envelope, “Attention Activities Director” whether sending one card, or many in one large envelope.
If you will be sending several cards to one place in a large envelope or box, you may want to include an additional note inside, asking them to deliver the cards to those most in need of some cheer.
You may use a generic greeting in your card or letter – for example a simple “Hello!”. Some people type and print several copies of a letter to include inside their cards. You could tell them about yourself, your family, kids, grandkids, pets, hobbies, travels etc. and include photos, or postcards from where you live or have traveled. It can be as simple or involved as you want to make it.

Many folks have shared this list with their schools, churches, clubs and other community organizations. Others involve their kids, grandkids and friends – getting together to make homemade cards. If you like, you can hand deliver them yourself locally. Be as creative as you like!

Do not expect a response as the resident may be unable to write. However, you may include a self addressed, stamped envelope just in case.

Some residents may not fully understand ‘who’ the card is from or may believe it is from someone they know – a long lost loved one. That is just fine. The point is, they know somone remembers they are there – someone is thinking of them – cares about them- and for a moment… they feel loved.
Please share this project, this page, this letter and list, with your friends on Facebook, friends at home, or your community. Also, feel free to add addresses in the comments of places that you would like posted on this page. Please do not include the names of residents for privacy and security.
Remember, volunteering to visit the lonely and forgotten elderly is always the best gift you could give them.
I am always happy to receive feed back, stories and photos of your card sending ideas. So, feel free to message me anytime.
Thank you in advance for your particpation. It means the world to me, and will mean even more to our lonely and forgotten elders.
Much love and thanks to you all!
Addresses:
Kachina Point Nursing home
505 Jacks Canyon Road
Sedona, AZ 86351
attn: Activities Director

Presbyterian Home & Rehabilitation Center
4290 Middle Settlement Road
P.O. Box 1144
New Hartford, New York 13413
attn: Activities Director

Rocky Mountain Hospice
2110 Overland Ave, Suite 111
Billings, MT 59102
Attn: For anyone in need of cheer

Paradise Valley Nursing Home
11645 N 25th Pl.
Phoenix, AZ 85028
attn: Activities Director

Tockwotton Home Long term Care
500 Waterfront Dr East
Providence, RI 02903
attn: Activities Director

Trinity Care Center – Nursing Home
S State St, 
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
attn: Activities Diector

Garden Valley Manor Nursing Home
8575 N Granby Ave
Kansas City, MO 64154
attn: Activities Director
Shylo Nursing & Home Healthcare
410-1917 4th Ave W
Vancouver, BC V6J 1M7 
Canada
attn: Activities director
Rathdowne Place – Long term Care
497 Rathdowne St, Carlton VIC 3053
Canada
attn: Activities Director
Beechwood Aged Care – Long term
3-17 Albert St, Revesby NSW 2212
Australia
attn: Activities Director
Princeton View Aged Care
29 Heathfield Rd, Brighton East VIC 3187
Austrailia
attn: Activities Director
Gardner Nursing Center
Attn: Joann McDaniel
702 North Drew ST, Star City, AR 71667
Lakeview Christian Home of The Southwest
c/o Michelle Whitzel
Development Administrative Assistant
1905 West Pierce Street
Carlsbad, NM 88220
Please add this facility to your list. Lots of wonderful people that could always use a pick me up. 
Windsor HealthCare Residence
1025 West Yeagua Street
P.O. Box 29
Groesbeck, Texas 76642
Hartford Health Care
217 Toro Rd
Hartford, AL 36344
A1 SNEHANJALI Elder Care Home
Marciana Bungalow
D’silva Nagar, Nala Village
Nalasopara West, (Mumbai W.Rly), Taluka Vasai, Dist.
Thane, Maharashtra. India. 401203
Bentwood Manor
550 W Berkshire Blvd,
Sioux Falls, SD 57106
attn:Activities Director
ManorCare Health Services-Fargo
1315 University Dr S,
Fargo, ND 58103
attn: Activities director – long term care
Ironwood Health and Rehabilitation Center
1950 Ridgedale Rd,
South Bend, IN 46614
attn: Activities director -long term care
Cedarwood Plaza
12504 Cedar Rd,
Cleveland, OH 44106
attn: Activities director – long term care
Oakmont Nursing Centers
600 Sulphur Springs Rd,
Greenville, SC 29617
attn: Activities director – log term care
Meadowbrook Acres Nursing Center
2149 Greenbrier St,
Charleston, WV 25311
attn:Activities director
Maine Veterans’ Home
290 US Route 1,
Scarborough, ME 04074
attn: Activities Diector – lonf=g term care
Comfort Care Homes
11725 Arbor St Ste 210,
Omaha, NE 68144
attn: Activities director
Cypress Springs of Tulsa- Alzheimer’s & Memory Support Residence
7210 S Yale Ave,
Tulsa, OK 74136
attn:Activities director
Future Care Nursing Home
22 S Athol Ave,
Baltimore, MD 21229
attn: Activities director – long term care
Oakwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
5520 Indian River Rd,
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
attn: Activities director – long term care
Tucker House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center 
1001-11 Wallace Street 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19123 
attn: Activities director – Nursing Home
Bhakti Shyama Care Centre 
1 Balham New Road
London SW12 9PH
attn: Activities director
Riddargarden ligger nara Odenplan
Norrtullsgatan 12 L
113 27 Stockholm, Sweden

Bergen Red Cross Nursing Home
Ellerhusens vei 35
5043 Bergen, Norway
The Charity Home
Szent Vince u. 2.
8083 Csákvár , Hungary
(cares for elderly nuns and Catholic ladies)
Dům S Pečovatelskou Službou 
Křižíkova 46 
186 00 Prague
Czech Republic
St Anne Nursing & Rehab Center
3540 NE 110th St,
Seattle, WA 98125
attn: Activities director – long term care
Appletree Court
870 West Arapaho Road
Richardson, TX 75080 USA
License #010312

Haugvoll Sykehjem
Myrvoldveien 21 
1743 Klavestadhaugen 
Norway

Tahanan ni Maria / House of Mary
Brgy. Lantic, Carmona
Cavite, Philippines

Greater Harlem Nursing Home
30 W 138th St
New York, NY
10037
 
This home is for women only. So many of the women there have no family. No one visits them.

The Bristol Home
1500 Main Street
Buffalo, NY. 14209

Little Sisters of the Poor St. Joseph’s Home 
43 Gilmore Place
Edinburgh EH3 9NG, SCOTLAND, UK

The address below is not a nursing home, rather, a foundation that helps the poor elderly. You may address cards and/or packages to “male or female elder”. This address comes from a dear friend of both of my pages. Please send some love to this wonderful foundation. See photos and names on my page of people you’ll be helping!

La Vie Foundation,
P. O. Box 2160,
Nairobi. Code 00200,
Kenya.

Hillcrest Nursing Center
1740 Circuit Court
Round Lake Beach, IL 60073

Kingsland Hills Care Center 
3727 West Ranch Rd. 1431 
Kingsland, Tx 78639
 
A R Goudie

Eventide Home
369 Frederick Street
Kitchener
Ontario
N2H 2P1 Canada

The Grace Care center of Lufkin
504 North John Redditt Drive
Lufkin, Texas 75904

Little Sisters of the Poor
St-Joseph’s Home, 52 Plymouth Grove West
Manchester M13 0AR, ENGLAND, UK

Venture Home Again
610 F M Stafford Ave
Paintsville, KY41240
 
Mountainside Nursing Center
1301 Church Street
Jasper, GA 30143

Grandview Health Care Center
618 Gennett Dr
Jasper GA 30143

AUXILIARY of LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR
300 LAKE STREET SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94118

Heritage House of Castlewoods
140 Castlewoods Boulevard
Brandon, MS 39047 USA

Green Acres Nursing Home
313 Allen Memorial Dr Sw
Milledgeville, GA 31061 USA

Christian Care Home 
114 Jacqueline Terrace
Milledgeville, Georgia 31061 USA

Little Sisters of the Poor
112B St George’s Road, P.O. Box 117
Northcote, Victoria 3070, AUSTRALIA

The Good Samaritan Home
601 N. Boeke Road
Evansville, IN 47711

Little Sisters of the Poor, Home for the Aged
Opp. Koppuravaru Road, Guntur Dist. A.P.
Nambur 522508, INDIA

Little Sisters of the Poor
St-Joseph’s Home, 52 Plymouth Grove West
Manchester M13 0AR, ENGLAND, UK

Petites Soeurs des Pauvres
Ma Maison St Joseph, 5605 Beaubien Est
Montreal, P.Q., H1T 1X4, CANADA

Little Sisters of the Poor St. Joseph’s Home 
43 Gilmore Place
Edinburgh EH3 9NG, SCOTLAND, UK

The Laurels of Shane Hill
10731 St. Rt. 118
Rockford, Ohio, 45882
Renfrew Care Centre
1880 Renfrew Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

BUPA Highgate Care Home
610 Old Edinburgh Road Uddingston North Lanarkshire Glasgow G71 6HQ
Scotland

Ailesbury Nursing Home
58 Park Avenue Sandymount Dublin 4, Ireland

İHTİYARLARA MAHSUS CEMİYET-İ HAYRİYE 
DERNEĞİ AZINLIK HUZUREVLERİ
Selbaşı Sok. No:5 Harbiye /İSTANBUL Turkey

BALIKLI RUM HUZUREVİ 
Belgratkapı Yolu No:2 Zeytinburnu /İSTANBUL Turkey

Little Sisters of the Poor, Home for the Aged
Opp. Koppuravaru Road, Guntur Dist. A.P.
Nambur 522508, INDIA

Heritage House of Castlewoods
140 Castlewoods Boulevard
Brandon, MS 39047 USA

Chestnut Court Care Home
Frizlands Lane
Dagenham RM10 7YD UK

Little Sisters of the Poor – Queen of Peace Residence
110-30 221st Street
Queens Village, NY 11429-2597, USA

Little Sisters of the Poor
Villa Guadalupe, 1900 Mark Avenue
Gallup, NM 87301-4822, USA

Little Sisters of the Poor
1028 Benton Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

“The address below is a very small nursing home in a poor, rural area of Kentucky. It is the kind of place where residents are lined up in wheelchairs in the hallways right outside the residents’ rooms. It is not a bad nursing home; just a poor one without many financial resources. Thank you so much for considering this one.”
South Shore Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
405 S.M. Robertson Drive
South Shore, KY 41175
 
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The Forgotten Ones: International Card Exchange for the Elderly at:
www.facebook.com/thelonelyelderly
 
View The Forgotten Ones: Compassion for the Elderly at:
www.facebook.com/compassionfortheelderly
 
Learn more and/or contact Pam O’Halloran at:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/pamohalloran
http://pamohalloran.brandyourself.com/
http://facebook.com/pamohalloran1