Monday, December 19, 2011

How to Pay it Forward This Christmas Holiday Season

How to Pay it Forward This Christmas Holiday Season

Dawn Hawkins, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 8, 2010

"This Christmas season, many people are thinking about giving to those less fortunate in the United States. The past couple of years have been difficult ones for all Americans who were barely surviving and some drowning in debt. It has made many of us more aware of what it feels like to be down on our luck and how thankful we were that there was someone there to help us through. There are a lot of great ways to pay it forward and help those who are less fortunate.

How to pay it forward this Christmas holiday season:

Join Freecycle- Freecycle is a site where people post things they want to give away but also where people post things that they need. There is nothing easier than helping someone through joining free cycle. There are several ways that you can pay it forward during this Christmas holiday season through Freecycle. The first thing that you can do is be on the look out for those who need things on the site. You may have something that could tremendously make a difference to someone else during the Christmas season. You can also collect items for people you know in person who need help with certain things. You can pick up the items and deliver them to those people who are in need. One other suggestion for helping someone else with Freecycle finds is to find a list of things needed by church groups or help centers in your area for specific things that people might need. This is a great way to mass aid people in need during the Christmas holiday season this year.

Free Turkeys- Many grocery stores give away free turkeys at Christmas time. If you have the ability to purchase a turkey on your own, think about giving the free turkey to someone who needs a Christmas meal. This is one of the easiest ways to pay it forward during this Christmas holiday season. You don't have to spend any extra money to give away a turkey that you get for free and an entire family or more can have a wonderful Christmas meal thanks to your free turkey donation.

Canned Goods- Donate some canned goods to a local food pantry. You can find food pantries in churches or town food cupboards that are meant to help those who don't have enough food. The food can then be distributed to the correct people to make sure that those who need the help most will get it. This is one of the most important ways that you can help pay it forward during this Christmas holiday season.

Shopping Trip- Find a family that won't have a Christmas this year due to lack of money. If you find that you have a little extra money that you could share with another family, why not take a child or two shopping. You could do that or you could donate a gift card that would allow those children to go shopping to find what they want. This is a fun way to help those who need a little boost this Christmas. Not everyone can do this, but for those who can, it is one of the most rewarding ways to help another human being.

These are just some of the ways that you can pay it forward during this Christmas holiday season. There are hundreds of ways that people have learned to help those less fortunate than themselves throughout the year. Christmastime always seems to amplify the giving feeling a little more than the rest of the year. There is nothing wrong with being a little generous when you have the chance to. Why not do it during the holiday that represents giving, love and care?"

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Lost Art of Courtesy

Seasons Greetings! Courtesy Speaks for Itself!  Keep the Spirit alive this holiday season! When it  comes to being polite always trust your God given intuition to lead the way. No matter if you are spiritual or religious.... treat others in a way that you would want to be treated. Live life to the fullest!  Sincere Peace !

The Lost Art of Courtesy

Holiday Edition

Carol Wilkins, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Nov 16, 2007

"Heavy traffic, jam-packed shopping malls, long lines to see Santa, irritatingly slow service, mall kiosk vendors making their pitch... It sounds like Christmas is just around the corner! If you're anything like me, the holidays are not the time of year my most courteous side shows. Manners seem to be a thing of the past and even more so with all the holiday inconveniences.

Isn't it supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year?
And wouldn't it be wonderful to walk through those crowded malls hearing, "pardon me, please" and "thank you, I appreciate that." Wouldn't it be nice to see doors being held open for mothers wrangling children and strollers? Wouldn't a salesperson enjoy even one smile and a thank you for services rendered? Well, it all starts at home.

Give the gift of MASS courtesy to your fellow man this holiday season:

Model the behavior. Have you heard the old saying, "what goes around comes around?" Why not send around good manners? I've discovered that the more polite I am, the more polite others are. A smile begets a smile. Pay it forward, so to speak. Granted, some will still take advantage of your courtesy and not return it, but don't let them dissuade you.

Allow extra time. If you know in advance that the streets are heavy with traffic or the malls are extra busy, plan more time. That will keep your stress levels under control and that, in turn, helps you remain courteous. Good time management is a great trait to have during the holidays and will allow you to enjoy the season even more.

Stop to help. Someone drops a package, a child lost her parents, a store clerk drops a box of supplies...don't let these opportunities to help pass you by. Offer politely to help and start doing so. You'll not only make the other person's day, but you will find a sense of fulfillment.

Surprise a salesperson. Retail salespeople not only work long hours during the holidays but they also bear the brunt of the anger from consumers. Don't blame the store clerk for a defective toy. Politely explain situations and if you can't get it resolved, request to speak with a manager. Thanking a weary salesperson, instead of complaining about the long wait, can truly lift his or her spirits.

It is so easy to disregard other people's feelings especially in a sea of unfamiliar faces. Try to remember to treat each person you come into contact with as you would want to be treated. You'll be amazed how far a smile and a little bit of courtesy can take you. Happy Holidays!"

Friday, December 16, 2011

Start Each Day with Thoughts of Random Acts of Kindness

Greetings Once Again!  Ahhh! Yes!  "Pay it Forward!"  I am sure that we have heard this phrase before.... But have we ever actually acted upon it?!  Giving without expectation of receiving something in return is true act of kindness...  It is important that we learn to feed one another spiritually...  You may be surprised at how one silent act of generosity could change a person's spirit and life forever.... In return God will  feed your spirit with blessings far and beyond you could ever imagine.

Start Each Day with Thoughts of Random Acts of Kindness

Bank Your Karma and Pay it Forward

Kristine Suber Hanchar, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Sep 25, 2011

"Once you get over the hour and half commute to work or how your boss or husband has you fuming mad, you can start to get outside yourself and think of what I call random acts of kindness. This is you building the foundation and creating your own karma. You don't have to spend money for random acts of kindness; you may need to spend some of your time. Just some random thoughts on how you can start.

Give blood. It saves millions of lives, maybe even your own one day.

Volunteer at soup kitchen and serve food to the hungry.

Make sure you work at least once in your life at habitat for humanity. You will get so much more from the experience by giving then even the folks getting the actual house.

Give flowers out of your garden to someone. Grow sunflowers and hydrangias they are cheap colorful and fun.

Mail an actual card with a stamp to say "Hey I am thinking about you". It doesn't have to be for a specific holiday or event.

Help an older person carry their groceries or cross the street or just lend them a hand.

Give a tiny gift to someone when they are not expecting it. Even your postman. It doesn't have to be for your best friend. What you are saying is "thank you for the work you do, you have helped me or touched my life in some way."

Call a friend when they are feeling down.

Search out philanthropic events that interest you. If you have the time and money go all out.

Donate your last season clothing or clothing that no longer fits to goodwill or charity.

Become a candy striper at your local hospital, or just volunteer some time.

Try to keep an open mind about other people's points of view, political opinions and beliefs, religious beliefs, social beliefs. Not everyone is exactly like you so learn to have tolerance and concern for others that are different. Try to always see the glass half full and be an optimist even when things are not going your way. Become a good listener to your friends, clients, family etc. this is a free random act of kindness and it can help you and the other person. You have heard the old statement time and again, "what comes around, goes around". It is so true, bank your karma points, pay it forward and live a rich life."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being Happy During the Holiday Season

Being Happy During the Holiday Season

Priscilla Benfield, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 22, 2009

"The holidays are upon us once again. For many people, life can get in the way of our plans for a perfect celebration. Illness, death, job loss are all a part of the real world. The holidays come whether we feel like celebrating or not.
The truth is that not everyone feels joyous at this time of year. It would be great if we all could but we are human. During this time of year, it is normal to think about loved ones we have lost or remember happier times in our lives. Being depressed during the holiday season is not uncommon.

The media starts to bombard us before Halloween with the upcoming holiday season. Some people begin to panic and feel the pressure of having to create a perfect holiday atmosphere. The reason for the season is often forgotten and especially for those who suffer from depression, the holiday circus can push you further into darkness.
No one has a perfect life. Especially in this day with many people being unemployed, the economy has changed how much money people spend on the holidays. This can be good because it can redirect the focus of the holidays to what it should be. If you have a family, be grateful. Now we all have issues with our family from time to time but ultimately, would you rather be alone?

Being part of a family is not always easy. It definitely is something that most of us take for granted. Life can be short and that difficult person in your life will not always be a part of it. Decide for yourself whether you are going to allow them to bring you down at the holidays or whether your attitude is going to be one of accepting people for who they are.

If you are alone for the holidays and the thought of it makes you sad, you can do something different this year. Look into the idea of volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen for the holiday. You will not be alone and the gift of your time to help someone less fortunate can be a gift to yourself also. Having a purpose can do a lot for feeling sad during the holidays. It beats sitting home alone in front of the television or computer.

The holidays can be a time of forgiveness and new beginnings. Letting go of anger that you may be holding onto can open your heart to feeling joy. You cannot change how people act but you can change how you react. If you have hurt someone, learning how to say "I'm sorry" can turn into a healing experience.

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, try to hold on to your memories of happy times you spent together. Feel joy that you have the memories but try to turn your focus away from wishing you would have had more time. Try not to isolate yourself during the holidays but surround yourself with supportive friends and relatives. If you need to cry, then cry. Grief is unique to each individual who go through it. There is no appropriate timetable and especially during the holidays it can be difficult.

Remember, the holiday season comes once a year. Your attitude can help you to either enjoy it or dread it."

Top Trend for 2011 Random Acts of Kindness - How to Pay it Forward

Greetings Again!  The following is an article about Random Acts of Kindness.  It is important for our spirit to experience the act of giving without expectations. When we give from the heart with true genuine love... God will bless us with spiritual treasures far and beyond the mind could ever imagine.  Allow yourself the opportunity to experience true compassion... Give of yourself and see the world in a whole new light!

Top Trend for 2011 Random Acts of Kindness - How to Pay it Forward

Christi Leaverton, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 15, 2010

"According to Trend Watching the #1 crucial consumer trend for 2011 is random acts of kindness. According to the website, some businesses are watching their Twitter and other social feeds for consumers who are needing a little pick-me-up and responding with something to help brighten their day.

One business cited in the article was Interflora in the UK. This company reads Twitter posts from its followers looking for a consumer to spread a little sunshine by way of a random act of kindness and a bouquet of flowers. Now, who wouldn't immediately be brightened by an unexpected bouquet of flowers showing up at their door?

Do these companies really just want to brighten somebody's day or is there something in it for them? Well, maybe they really do love to make an impact on an unknowing person's day. There are, after all, humans behind every business. However, when you think of what happens after a person suddenly receives a big bunch or colorful flowers, the benefits to the company can be huge. I'm sure they tweet, update their status, tumble, blog and of course spread by word of mouth. Before you know it, this random act of kindness is all over at least one person's social life - on and off line. Maybe their friends and followers will retweet, reblog, like and share to all of their friends. See the snowball effect?

This can, potentially, be huge for any business. It can also, potentially, be huge for the recipient of the random act of kindness. This is the part I like. The part about the human touch and paying it forward. The truly random act of kindness just for kindness' sake. Imagine the possibilities.

Although it would be great to have a bouquet of flowers show up at the door totally unexpected, it would be even better if they were from someone you actually knew. Somebody, who for whatever reason, decided this morning that they were going to send three people they know a bouquet of flowers. Just because.
Of those same three people, who would undoubtedly be amazed at receiving not only a bouquet of flowers, but to know they were thought about by someone they care about, decided to "pay it forward" and pick three of their friends to send flowers (chocolate, card, etc.) to, imagine, again, the possibilities.

Now imagine if 100 people read and respond to this article. Imagine if 75% (thats 75 people) decided to do something special for two of their friends. Thats 150 people who were shown a little kindness they didn't expect. Lets say 75% of those 150 people (thats 125 people) decided to pay it forward and do something kind for two of their friends. Now we're up to 250 people who are having a brighter day because of the kindness of someone. What if 75% of those 250 people not only paid it forward to two of their friends, but to at least one absolute stranger as well? The possibilities are endless. (by the way, if you haven't seen the movie "Pay It Forward" I strongly recommend it.)

A random act of kindness does not need to involve money. Actually, I think the "free" act of kindness may be even more meaningful. A random act of kindness can be given to a friend, family member, coworker, colleague or a total stranger you happen across. It doesn't need to be a life altering, earth shattering event either. It can be a simple warm cup of coffee or an extra coupon in the grocery checkout line.

Nearly every one of us is on some sort of social network like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress, LinkedIn. The list goes on and on. How many times a day do you see a post from someone that could use a little sunshine? Why not give it to them?

Here are some suggestions to help each and every one of us get started being better people and living in a better society through random acts of kindness.

1) Send a friend an online poem or ecard just because.
2) You know your coworker that tweets about Starbucks all the time? Bring her favorite carmel latte to work for her one morning.
3) Grab bagels for your office next Wednesday morning.
4) Slip $10.00 in the pocket of your teenage daughters coat when she's not looking.
5) Leave a tip in your mailbox for your mailman.
6) Help your neighbor shovel snow. (better yet, do it for them before they get the chance).
7) Let somebody cut in line. (especially if they have small children)
8) Help an elderly person in or out a door. (or across the street)
9) Clean the kitchen and wash the dishes even if it isn't "your turn" or "your job".
9) Tell a manager that your waiter/waitress did an excellent job.
10) Post something nice and meaningful on a friend's Facebook wall.
11) Babysit for someone for free so they can do their grocery shopping, Christmas shopping or just because.
12) Make an extra casserole and give it to someone you know.
13) Give your extra coupons to the person behind you in line.
14) Leave a copy of a book you've read on a train or bus.
15) Buy a bag of Hershey's kisses and hand them out randomly.

Most of all, just be kind. Do something for someone without expecting anything in return. Lets all pay it forward."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Confused About when to Use Happy Holidays and when to Use Merry Christmas or Another Specific Holiday Greeting

Confused About when to Use Happy Holidays and when to Use Merry Christmas or Another Specific Holiday Greeting

Celebrate in Peace

needle felted dogs, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Dec 7, 2010

"This article explores why people may use a certain type of greeting. If you're confused about when to use Happy Holidays and when to use Merry Christmas or another specific Holiday greeting, in the end a Holiday greeting may come down to personal preference or how well you know the people you greet. Whether receiving or giving a greeting, it helps to have an understanding of someone's intentions as well as their differences to celebrate in peace.
Are you confused about when to use Happy Holidays and when to use Merry Christmas or another specific Holiday greeting? Are you concerned when someone uses one type of greeting instead of another? Read this associated content article: Confused about When to use Happy Holidays and when to use Merry Christmas or another specific Holiday greeting.

Confused About Season's Greetings

Some people use "Happy Holidays" as a shorter way of saying "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year". Similarly, some people use "Happy Holidays" as a way to include multiple Holidays instead of saying, "Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, (etc.) to all of our viewers/customers". Some people use their preferred Holiday greeting with everyone like a reflex. Some people and many businesses use "Happy Holidays" when they don't know which Holiday someone celebrates. Some use a specific greeting when addressing an audience on the specific date(s) of the specific Holiday.

Confused About Holiday Celebrations, Christmas Parties, and Religious Products

A celebration that includes images associated with multiple Holidays that or welcomes people of multiple religions, might be called a Holiday Celebration, or include each of the Holidays it celebrates in the title. A celebration that uses a specific Holiday name in the title may also welcome people of multiple religions to celebrate with them. If a celebration includes only images associated with a specific religious Holiday, or only welcomes people of a specific religion, just changing the celebration's name to 'Holiday' seems to be missing the point. Similarly, changing the name of a religious product such as a Menorah to 'Holiday Candlestick Holder' also misses the point. An attempt at inclusiveness that misses the point can have the effect of alienating people instead of attracting a wider audience.

Confused About Sending Cards

A person who sends a card to someone that they know celebrates a specific Holiday may pick a card specific to that Holiday or pick a generic card and add a personal message with a greeting. Taking into account the appearance of many generic 'Holiday' cards, at least the ones available in the Northern hemisphere, including the name of the religious Holiday with the message lets friends know that senders are sending a card in celebration of something other than winter.

Businesses trying to show appreciation for customers with a friendly Holiday greeting often send cards to customers saying "Happy Holidays", as they don't know which Holidays each customer celebrates. People sending cards to others who they don't know well enough to know which Holiday they celebrate might send a generic card. People sending cards to others who they don't know well enough to know how they might react to receiving a Holiday specific or a generic greeting card might think twice about sending one until they know the person better. They might try to find out before sending a card.

You may encounter people of many different religions who may become your friends. If sending cards or participating in religious celebrations, you may want to learn which religious Holidays your friends celebrate and show understanding if they're unsure of yours. Some people are confused about when to use Happy Holidays and when to use Merry Christmas or another specific Holiday greetings and you can't please everyone all of the time. As the word Holiday comes from the words Holy and Day, using the word Holiday may not please atheists.

It's important to remember that freedom of religion was designed out of respect and tolerance, to allow people to practice different religions, not to prevent people from practicing or celebrating theirs. Occasionally, you may find someone who is put off by a well intentioned greeting such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays". It helps to have an understanding of someone's intentions and the fact that not everyone may be familiar with which Holidays you celebrate and which you don't to celebrate in peace."

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Does it Affect You? - PART 2

Greeting Once Again! The following is a second blog post by Jody Morse about SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder... This time of the year can be difficult for many people dealing with this seasonal illness. If you or someone you my know is experiencing the effects of SAD... take time to get the aid you need. Brighter days are ahead... Trust that God and the Spirit will lead you to the healing light... Sincere Peace!

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Does it Affect You?

Jody Morse, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Jan 6, 2007

"You have probably heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is otherwise referred to as SAD. However, chances are that you may know the facts about this mental health disorder which affects the moods of humans. Do you have any idea who it most commonly affects and how it affects them? If so, you have come to the right place. Here, we will take a closer look at SAD and how it may affect you.

What is the Cause of SAD?

Winter days which are short, dark and cold are thought to be the main cause of SAD. SAD especially tends to affect people who move from a Southern, warmer climate to a Northern, colder climate. Other things which are thought to be the cause of SAD include an irregular amount of serotonin, or a change in the body's natural clock.

When Do The Symptoms of SAD Occur? What are They?

The symptoms which will be experienced with SAD tend to occur at different times for different people. In general, they will begin in autumn or the beginning of winter. Although some people may begin to experience their symptoms as early as in the beginning of September, others will not begin to experience symptoms until as late as December. The most common causes of SAD include anxiety, irritability, constant drowsiness, lack of concentration, sadness, and an increased appetite for carbohydrates and sweet foods which leads to weight gain. Most people will find that the symptoms that affect them by SAD will end as soon as spring arrives. This, again, is different for different people. Some people will find that they will no longer have symptoms by March while others will have their symptoms until May.

Who is Most Likely to be Affected?

The truth is that SAD can affect just about anybody. However, there are certain people which it tends to affect the most often. For example, women are more likely to be affected by SAD. In fact, between seventy-five and ninety percent of people who are affected by SAD are women. Women who are in their late teenage years or who have reached young adulthood are the women who are the most at risk for developing SAD. As you get older, your risk for developing Seasonal Affective Disorder tends to increase. Most commonly, however, the people who are affected are ones who have moved from a warmer climate to a colder climate.

What To Do If You Have Symptoms?

The first thing that you should be sure to do if you feel that you have symptoms which may be caused by Seasonal Affective Disorder is see your doctor. You will be diagnosed according to whether or not you have experienced these symptoms which came in winter and left in spring for at least two years in a row, or preferably more. The treatment which you will experience will then depend on your doctor, although most doctors will begin you with light therapy. With this type of treatment, you will sit near artificial bright lights for a certain amount of time during the day. Antidepressants are also common treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hypocrisy: How to Avoid Being a Hypocrite

Hypocrisy: How to Avoid Being a Hypocrite

Flyarticle, Yahoo! Contributor Network
May 18, 2009
Hypocrisy is an annoying trait that most of us can relate to. We either have encountered them in our everyday lives such as in our career, or even have relatives that we can perfectly defined as such. Some of us are even in relationships with a partner who practices this behavior.

Many of us can relate to others and how they are such "hypocrites" but fail to examine our own words and belief system to see if we fall into this category. There's is no safe bet that anyone of us can count on to ensure our communication level is free from such negative misinterpretations.

How can we make sure that we are not doing just what we've condemned?


What Makes Us A Hypocrite?
Here are four factors that may unknowingly lead some of us into the hypocrite trap without realizing.

Contradictory Signals of Communication:
An effective method is to never send contradictory signals. Mean what you say; say what you mean and do what you say that you'd do. What a lot of people don't understand is
that words contradicted by actions are hollow. You should be totally consistent in what you ask other people to do as well as how you ask them to do it. Carefully examine the role you may be playing in and if it unconsciously reinforcing the behavior you are trying to change.

Don't be the type of people who "shoot themselves in the foot, " by trying to improve others without realizing that their own behavior sends a contrary message.

There are a few factors that results in how we may be sending contradictory messages or how we behave that enables another person to perpetuate a behavior that you are trying to change.

When you talk, your words and actions must be in sync. Remember that what you promised must be delivered and supported with what you do. Your motives must be convincingly pure.

Being Unaware of Our Contradictory Signals:
Sometimes, we may not be unaware of our own contradictory signals and although there are those who are deceitful, many of us sometimes doesn't aware of our communication styles which causes us to contradict ourselves.
You may have a noble heart and honest intentions and still send mixed signals - not because you're evil but because you unthinkingly contradict your stated messages.

Circumstances May Require Us to Change Our Message:
There will be times when the changes in circumstance gives us no choice but to change our actions and the messages supporting them will have to change just as well.

There is nothing wrong when we respond to changes but it's considered hypocrisy when we fail to inform others of our new circumstances and the change that we must make to accommodate these changes.
In many cases, the only difference between perceived hypocrisy and perceived reasonableness is the failure to inform others about why the previous messages are no longer appropriate.

When We Believe Words Are More Important Than Actions:
Always make sure that your creed is reinforced by your deed. If you don't live it, you don't believe it. It's perfectly okay to not live or believe a certain concept, however, it is not okay to criticize or judge others for being a certain way and give yourself excuses when you have to change your circumstance to be that way.

Always make sure that your creed is reinforced by your deed. I you don't live it, you don't believe it. If people don't see you living it, talking about it won't help.

Thus, in order to prevent ourselves from giving contradictory signals, it's best that we start by understanding how we may fall trap to such annoying traits as hypocrisy.