Holly and Heather's Helping Hands

Inspirational Heartfelt Hints

Month: October, 2012

Holly & Heather’s Handy Hint: Make A Difference!

October 27 is USA Weekend Magazine’s annual “Make A Difference Day” and, according to their publication, it’s America’s largest annual day of volunteering. The idea is to volunteer in your community on that day, help others or the environment, be charitable for a cause! Lots of good things are going on in that spirit of giving and volunteering. Our kids’ schools are always being charitable even promoting a “random acts of kindness” project where students are encouraged to do good and share all of their ideas. Here’s what we’re doing: Our dancing school is putting a box in the waiting room for donations of canned goods to feed the hungry.  After we fill the box we will bring it to our local church for their food pantry.  There are so many ways you can help out, big & small.  Here are a few ideas to make a difference in your community:

* Donate your old coats and/or winter clothes to a homeless shelter.

* Volunteer your time to clean up an area of your community such as a beach or a park.

* Make a visit to a nursing home and spend time with the residents playing a game or reading to them.

* Walk to raise money for or bring awareness toward an important cause such as cancer or Parkinson’s disease.

We’d love to hear your ideas too.  Please consider volunteering this month, it’s so important and you’ll feel good knowing you helped make a difference!

Holly & Heather’s Handy Hint: Welcome Autumn!

We live in New York and fall is in full swing over here! Just walking through our neighborhoods is glorious this time of year; wearing a sweater, enjoying the festively decorated homes, the beautiful blue sky and colorful foliage on the trees. What could be better? So this week we thought we’d write about some things we love about autumn and pass on a few ideas to help get everyone into the fall spirit!

* Instead of putting a traditional fall wreath on your door, look for a horizontal gathering of twigs at a local store. Get some mini pumpkins and gourds, eucalyptus sprigs and faux fall leaves and intersperse them between the twigs. You can hang it on a wreath hanger on your front door.
* Our very crafty mother who loves to sew made us fabric pumpkins this year. She cut three pieces of orange and three pieces of green fabric and alternately sewed them together as if making a ball. She then stuffed it, sewed up the opening and added a felt green “stem” on the top – too cute!

Fun Around Town:
* We love to go apple and pumpkin picking! There are some wonderful local farm stands and apple orchards close to where we live. We make a day of it by grabbing some delicious in-season eats (local roasted corn, homemade strawberry lemonade with big pieces of fresh strawberries and lemon, warm baked pie) and spreading out a picnic blanket in the grass to enjoy the fare. Then it’s on to hay rides, pumpkin picking and visiting the farm animals. A stop by the apple orchard is a great way to round out the trip!

Get in the Spirit:

* Heather’s son’s birthday is in the fall so the house is brimming with Halloween themed cupcakes and funky skeletons.  Our basement houses lots of spooky decor complete with eerie noises.  Dressing up and going on haunted walks are part of the festivities.  Kids (and adults too) have so much fun this time of year!

How do you like to enjoy autumn?   It’s a beautiful season!

Holly & Heather’s Handy Hint: Be True To Yourself

Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true!”  On that thought, have you ever found yourself in a negative situation where you didn’t know how to respond or react? It’s happened to all of us at one point or another; a comment catches us off guard, an uncomfortable realization beyond our control. In the moment, we may fall silent, not sure what to do or say. But in time, a response begins to formulate.

Many thoughts may come as our response is brewing: defensiveness, anger, hurt, fear, surprise…sometimes they are hard to sort out.  And as our mother would occasionally say, “Sometimes silence is an answer.”  But things can get tricky when you are listening to voices that don’t seem to ring true for you, who you are and what you believe in.  And those voices can come from within or from well-intentioned friends or family members.  For example, if you have been wronged, it is right to feel hurt or betrayed and want to counter that wrong with an admonishment.  But if it is not within your heart to mirror back those upset feelings, then you probably shouldn’t.

We find that waiting, instead of instantly reacting, will give you time to sort through your feelings.  When all of those immediate emotions subside, a clear thought will surface, one that is true to who you are.  And then you will know how to be, what to say, how to act.  And you will feel good about your response because it has come from within you and not from your situation.

Holly & Heather’s Handy Hint: Attitude of Gratitude

We recently celebrated our birthday and sure do have a lot to be grateful for. Even when circumstances are bleak, there is always something to find room in our hearts to be thankful about. We once received one of those group email “forwards” that said something along the lines of, “Be thankful that you have all those dishes to wash because it means you had food to eat” and, “Be thankful for the traffic jam you are sitting in because it means you have a car.” Even little annoyances in life can turn into blessings if we look at the situation with grateful eyes.

It is easy for us all to take the ordinary things in life that we enjoy for granted. We can often wish for our lives or circumstances to be different or better. But when we begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, we start to see things in a different light. Even in our prayer life, it can become routine to “ask” for more, requesting change in our lives or the lives of those we love, instead of just giving thanks for what already is. It doesn’t mean we don’t hope for better things to come, but just that we are living in the present moment, enjoying today just as it is. When we start to appreciate everything around us instead of grumbling about what we don’t have, our lives begin to change, one small thought at a time.

What are you grateful for today?

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