Joy in giving

I know I have not written for ages! Apologies! Life has been a tad busy and I have found my reading slipping to the bottom of the list! Tonight I read ‘The Minimalist Newsletter’ by Joshua Becker and have just made a cut and paste of what I loved! In the business of life it is easy to fall into self-protection mode and trample over others. I am so thankful for the reminders this article brought.

IMG_3602_2It spoke to me, maybe it will to you too?

The Joy in Giving to Others.


“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” –Mohandas Gandhi

I fear we are too easily fooled.

Most people define success, greatness, and happiness in terms of winning out over others. They seek to have power over others, more money than others, and precedence in life over everyone else. The lust for power and riches is common and widespread.

They begin to see the world in the form of a pyramid with the ones on the bottom serving those on the top. Subsequently, they long for that top spot—success, greatness, and happiness is found in winning out over others.

But I am becoming more and more convinced that thinking is all wrong. True happiness is not found in lording authority over others. Instead, the greatest happiness is found in giving our lives to others. Choosing to serve others may actually be the surest pathway to true success and lasting greatness.

When we choose a lower spot on the pyramid, we become more fulfilled and more complete. We become bigger than ourselves. We sleep better at night. We find less stress, less frustration, and greater relationships. We make this world a better place for everyone. And we find a pursuit greater than the material things around us.

Lose yourself in the service of others. It is the quickest way to truly find yourself.

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Joy

The idea of joy has been buzzing around in my head a lot lately. In a conversation with my sister, together we realised we had ‘lost’ the joy of the everyday things amongst the business. We realised how easy it is to lose ‘joy’ but also it can be restored.

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Photo Credit: letthefunbegin.co.uk

I have piles of papers that are to do with my children’s school books, paintings, love notes etc etc…what is to be done with them? As a result I found myself reading an article about decluttering.  Marie Condo has become a Japanse celebrity due to her way of  helping people declutter. It was with some surprise that I discovered her system is based on joy!

“Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.”

The whole article is worth a look ….
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/23/garden/home-organization-advice-from-marie-kondo.html

 

Photo Credit: winsomeaunt.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: winsomeaunt.blogspot.com

This was then followed up by looking at the blog of Joshua Becker who is writing about the joy of minimalism. In a nutshell, more and more research is showing that belongings do not bring lasting joy, in fact they often do the opposite. Some people are now starting to experiment and see what happens when they ‘down size’ and simplify life. Their personal stories tesify to the joy they find in their new lifestyles. Have a look at this link for an example.
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/4-statements/

Photo Credit: wallspaperwide.com

Photo Credit: wallspaperwide.com

Before all this I had read the following in Psychology News

“David Pollay, one of the early leaders in applying the findings from positive psychology, asks us to make 3 simple promises to ourselves every day:

  1. Find joy.
  2. Do what you love.
  3. Make a difference.

One consequence of modern American life is busyness. We are brought up to believe that we can be anything, have anything, do anything if we only work hard enough. Technology and gadgets make everything so much easier and more convenient, so we can squeeze in more and more and more. But between work, taking care of kids, pursuing our passions and dreams, what so often gets squeezed out is our view of what makes life worth living. Time and time again, I have found that following Pollay’s structure brings me back again to the things that matter in life. These are the things that lead to the type of life you want to live.”

Photo Credit: Davidpollay.com

Photo Credit: Davidpollay.com

 

Joy makes such a difference in life. Joy is  an idea that is found in many religions.
As a Christian I find joy is a topic that I cannot blog about without reference to my faith. Joy is a gift, joy is something that is deeper than happiness. Joy can still be there during the hard times, it is knowing that hope is not lost, that there is a ‘bigger’ being than oneself, it is trusting that when things seem out of control there is still control, it is knowing when one messes up, there is forgiveness!

I believe it is this knowledge that then allows one to find joy, do what you love and make a difference.

Photo Credit: epjp.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: epjp.wordpress.com

Mindfulness in parenting

Being the best parent I possibly can is something I am passionate about and know that many of you are too.

As my children get older, I feel like things are getting busier as there are so many different activities vying for their attention. As I struggle to balance these, I find it is important to think about what values we have as a family and ask the question ‘How do these activities match up with our family values?’  In many ways the ideas and research by the ‘positive psychologists’ can help give direction as to what helps kids flourish and what helps us be better parents. But then, in the end, taking time to listen to our hearts is also important.

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photo credit: blogthings.com

I really enjoyed reading the following (on the blog “A Holy Experience”) and wanted to share it – please, not to put anyone on a guilt trip, but to encourage you amongst the cleaning and cooking to live in the moment and enjoy the simple parts of parenting.

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photo credit: dyaneburgon.com

To give the writing context, it is set in Canada and the writer is sending her 18 year old son to live-in University. (For the full story click here.)

“How could I forget that the only thing that we’re always really teaching is love? What if I’m wild to go back to Dr. Suess and begin again? What if I want to go back and make the schedule simpler so our lives could be richer? So I could tie your shoe one more time and bend down and kiss your cowlick….
What if I want to play more games of monopoly and leave the dishes in the sink more often? What if I want to take you fishing more Saturdays and blow off cleaning up the garage? Why doesn’t someone tell all the homemakers: Cleanliness isn’t next to godliness. Love is….
I wish I had cared a lot less about your room being clean and a lot more that you and your brothers being close. Why didn’t I paint it in neon on a wall: More important than a clean house is a close family…
You may forget the chronology of the Egyptian pharaohs, but you’ll remember your Dad sneaking up behind me and kissing my ear while I was scrubbing out the breakfast frying pan. I’m not partial to how much you remember of calculus; but it’s dire that you know that the sum of how you see the ordinary is all that ever adds up to an extraordinary life. The lessons any kid remembers are the ones his parents lived. The goal is simple: It’s not about a 5-year scholarship but being a life-long learner and a life-long lover...
I wished we’d read more Charlie Brown books together and laughed loud on the floor. I should have gone slower. Every time you saw me, a smile is what you should have seen first…
I’d give my eye teeth, my liver and lifetime worth of free bacon to go back and tell you three times a day,  to look you in the eyes and tell you: I really like you.”

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May you find time on the weekend for making memories with your kids. Not necessarily big event memories, but the memories that make up the little things in life…
how you see the ordinary is all that ever adds up to an extraordinary life

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Thought for the weekend!

Learning is exciting! Learning is fun! Learning is amazing! Learning is engrossing! Learning is interesting! Learning is this and so much more!

I have had the absolute pleasure of watching some kids worlds enlarge as they learnt just a little about Ancient Egypt, pyramids and Tutankhamun! We made square based pyramids, mummies to go inside and Pharaoh head-dresses. Such fun, such imagination and such mystery.

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My Noah with the proto-type head-dress!

This weekend, amongst everything, may you take a little time out to rediscover the joy of learning.
May you find a child, friend or neighbour to share your new found knowledge.
May you find some new enthusiasm for the amazing world around you.

Enjoy!

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Photo Credit: Klat.com