Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Like parents, like children

I have written about doing for others, especially this time of year.  Yesterday I showed my children what I was doing and brought them into the circle. I want them to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. I took them to shop for toys for five children who are their ages, explaining to them that a lot of people aren’t working right now, or are not making enough to be able to pay bills and buy gifts.  I very firmly explained to them that we were not buying, or looking, for ourselves last night.  We were on a mission to find gifts for these children.  I asked if they wanted to know the names of the ‘angels’ they answered with a very excited ‘YES!’. I told them the names of the kids, I’d already told them how old they were. I told them about selling my old jewelry and their jaws dropped and I asked how many people they thought we could help with that money.  ‘Alot!’ was the answer, and yes, we will help as many as we can.

I must say, my children did very well.  They play right into the hands of the advertisers and loudly proclaim they want everything they see on tv. Last night we went to our local Big Lots and found some real bargains on toys. For instance, we found a multipack of Littlest Pet shop toys for only $10, and then shortly after we went to Wal-Mart and found the exact same thing for $20. I love it when that happens.  At BigLots, they did really well, the toy section is much smaller than Wal-Mart. When we got to Wal-Mart, it was much more difficult for my daughter, who is 6. I gently reminded her that we were not looking or buying for ourselves, but for the girls.

I am so proud of my children for doing what I asked them to do and really taking an interest in these kids.  My son, bless his little heart, wanted to give one of the boys his Gameboy. The angels can put on their tags one gift they would like.  He wanted a ‘handheld video game’.  Well, the only handheld video games around these days are in the $100 range and that was way above the budget I had for them. Besides, if I won’t buy one for my son, I really couldn’t justify it for another child. It was just so sweet for him to offer it and I made sure he understood how much that meant to me that he would give his Gameboy away, but that the toys needed to be new. What a kid!

I will take the gifts back to the tree today and tally up how much money I have left to decide how many toys I can buy for the Toys for Tots program. So…like Nike says, JUST DO IT! If you are reading this, you have a computer and internet access and you can do something for someone who needs it.  You can make a difference in the life of a child, or even children, by doing something as small as putting loose change in that red kettle, or buying an extra can of peas at the grocery.  Food banks are running low, especially right now.  The demand is so high, but the contributions are very low. I’ll be going to the grocery today and putting some things in the box there for our local food bank.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

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Merry Christmas, now listen to NIKE and do it!

I know you’ve passed by those Angel trees, bell ringers, and collection boxes and thought, ‘I wish I had the time/money/canned goods to give, but I”m just too busy/broke/distracted right now.’  Well guess what? You are not too broke to toss a couple of coins in the kettle or buy an extra can of corn or a little toy for someone in need. What are you waiting for?  Do what Nike has been telling you to do for years! DO IT! and btw, DO IT NOW!!!!

I think I posted about adopting angels from our local Salvation Army angel tree. I did it and I went back two more times for more names.  There were just so many still there, I couldn’t bear the thought of children not having a gift on Christmas.  Or the stress of the parent worrying about it.

I wanted to do more for more people.  I knew I could do better.  I had some old tangled up, mismatched, ugly old jewelry that I’d been meaning to take to a gold buyer here in town and today, I was on a mission.  I was there before they opened the doors and walked out with a lot more money than I thought. It allowed me to take 4 more angels from the tree. I also read in the news today that our Toys for Tots program is 11000 toys short this year.

I made my plan and I went for it. I bought warm hats and gloves for all of my angels. It’s really cold here right now, it won’t stay this way all winter (I hope) but it’s always good to have the things you need when you need them. I bought them warm fleece pull-overs and shirts and some toys. I am taking my children today when they get home from school to pick out toys for the older children, the ones their ages. I want them to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. They are young, but not too young to understand helping people in need. I sent with them to school today, 15 pairs of gloves for the hat/scarf/mitten tree for children in our school district.

I had a surprising response when I took the gifts for the last 4 angels I got today. I had a big green net bag slung over my shoulder, feeling rather like Santa, minus the red suit, beard, big belly and other things 😉 and stood for a moment watching the girls unpack the gifts and sort them into piles. It really struck me how something like that will affect so many other people.  The children, of course, but the rest of their family as well. They will see that people care about them and want them to have a good Christmas. As I watched the girls doing their magic, it really brought tears to my eyes seeing what I had done for these kids and made my heart expand, kind of like on the ‘Grinch’ at the end when his heart grows. I dont’ think I’ve ever been the Grinch, but we just get so wrapped up in ourselves that it’s hard to see beyond our own lives and how our actions can help others. Almost like the forest and the trees. We are so focused on our ‘trees’ that we fail to see the ‘forest’ beyond that maybe suffering.

I am just so full of hope and love right now, I can’t explain it.  It may sound corny, but it’s true. I wish everyone could have a roof over their heads, food in the pantry and good clothes to wear. If I could do anything about it, I would. I will continue to do what I can every chance I get.

If I can motivate only one other person to do something for someone in need, my job is done.  I’m encouraging you to put a toy in the box, put some coins in the red kettle, take a name from the angel tree, put some groceries in the collection box at the store.  Do something, even in some small way, to make our world a better place. It’s really pretty ugly right now, with our economy still being pretty rough an unemployment numbers in double digits, there are more people than ever in need. If you are reading this, that means you have a computer and you can do something. Even if it’s digging under the couch cushions for loose change, that 37 cents may not do much for you, but put it in the kettle with the other money that people have put in and it can do great things.  Just DO SOMETHING. You’ll feel  better for it, I promise.  You’ll feel lighter, happier even, knowing that you have made a difference, no matter how small, in the life of another person.

Merry Christmas

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Something to make you think

In the past, we’ve adopted an angel for Christmas from the Salvation Army Angel Tree.  It’s been a while since we’ve done it, so I thought it would be a good thing to do again, especially considering the climate we live in these days: increasing numbers of jobless, influenza epidemic, recession.

I went today to our mall and chose two angels, the same ages and genders as my children. I want them to help pick out some things for them, to see that not everyone is as fortunate as we are.  The lady working there told me there are seniors on there as well. I chose a 65-year-old gentleman.  I probably should have chosen someone my dad’s age, but this man for whatever reason, caught my attention.  The only thing this dear older man wants is clothes, so nice warm clothes he shall receive.

What really breaks my heart is the number of angels that remain on the tree.  There were so many on the tree, and even more on a table in a little divider separated by gender and age.  They had tags for entire families as well.  Thinking about it now, I should’ve picked  a family so that everyone would get something. I will feel really bad if the children I chose get something and their siblings don’t.

Being the mom that I am, I picked out some warm clothing, hats, gloves, fleece pullovers. I can’t bear the thought of children being cold in winter. I will have my children help pick out toys for them. Who knows, I may even go back and adopt a family. It just makes my heart hurt to see so many people in need, real, true, desperate need. If it was allowed, I’d send some groceries with the gifts, but maybe instead I’ll just send some little candies.

Seeing something like this tree always makes me realize exactly how fortunate I am and makes me want to do more for the people who are in need.

I’m asking you now, if you are reading this post, go to your local mall, or wherever the angel tree is, choose an angel and make someone’s Christmas a little bit better. Drop some coins in that red kettle, put a toy or some groceries in the collection box.  Something that may be really small to you can be something really great to someone in need.

Can you imagine what it would be like to wake up on Christmas to find nothing under the tree, if you even have a tree that is. Or worse yet, have nothing in the pantry to eat. If you are able, please go pick an angel, child or adult, and do what you can to help. Even a little bit is better than nothing.

Merry Christmas

***Update***

I am on my way to return some of the useless, extraneous gifts I bought for my family and use the money to help more people.  They have a tree at my children’s school for hats/gloves/scarves for children within our school district who are in need.  I am also seriously considering adopting a family from the angel tree and getting each of them something and including a gift card from one of our local grocery stores.  They’ll get food from the Salvation Army for Christmas, but what happens after Christmas? That is my mission right now, to help as many people in and around my community as I can. I want everyone to know the spirit of Christmas and that even people who don’t know them care about them.

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Random acts of kindness

I was really and truly surprised today.  Today is what’s known as “Black Friday’ for us here in the States, the day after Thanksgiving when there are sales out the wazoo and bargains to be had around every corner.  The stores open at insanely early hours and I don’t know if it’s just to see how many people will get up at the butt crack of dawn for a $3 toaster, or what.  If it was me making those decisions, they’d open at the crack of 7AM, a much more respectable hour.  But, since they don’t ask me, the hour of opening has become increasingly early.  Case in point: Toys R Us. This year, they opened at MIDNIGHT! yes, midnight as in 12AM.  Old Navy opened at 3AM, but they had the best giveaway ever, a free Lego Rock Band game w/a $20 purchase (the game retails for $49). And of course with mounting pressure for increased sales, Sears has joined the 4AM club this year, much to my chagrin.  Why do I care about Sears, you ask?  My dear, sweet, lovely husband is a store manager for Sears.  Which means he went to bed last evening at 6:30PM to get up at 2AM so he could be at his store at 2:30AM and open the doors at 4AM to the masses waiting outside his door for the early bird deals. 

What was it that surprised me?  Well, here it is.  We have a dog, love her though I do, she sheds so much that every time I run the vacuum, there is enough fur in the bucket to make another dog! Literally, she shakes and the fur flies.  Target had a Dyson Absolute Animal vacuum on for $200 off the regular price.  $200 is a lot of money, I don’t care who you are. Well, if you’re  Madonna or A-Rod, that’s just pocket change. But since I’m not either of them, nor do I know anyone remotely in that league, $200 is a fair amount to be saving.

At 4AM when my alarm went off, I hit the snooze and debated with myself should or shouldn’t I?  It’s cold out and so warm and snuggly here in  my bed.  Finally, my desire to have  pet-hair-free carpet won out.  I pulled myself out of bed dressed and ventured to my nearest Target in search of a vacuum that promises a great cleaning of my carpet. I had a list of a few things I was on a mission for, in addition to the vacuum.  When I pulled up in the parking lot at 4:45AM, the line crossed the front of the building.  I thought I was well dressed for the cold, but it was still damned cold.  The woman in front of me was asking people if anyone was there for a vacuum. I piped up and said ‘I am.’  This year, the difference is quantity.  Last year, the retailers ordered way more stock than they sold and ended up taking a loss on it when they had to sell at mark down prices. So this year, they have only ordered limited quantities.  Almost every ad I read, under the really great deals was a disclaimer “Limited quantities” or “while supplies last.’  I knew I had to get in, find the Dyson display immediately if I wanted this wonderful piece of machinery that was to make my life a little less hairy.

I pressed through the crush of people and made my way to the place I thought I’d seen the vacuums before.  This was a new store and I’d only been in it once before.  I found an employee who directed me to the vacuums.  To my surprise, there stood the woman who had been in front of me outside, waving to me. I did that whole, look around and be sure she was meaning me.  Yes, she did mean me.  She’d gotten to the display before I did and she had two off the shelf, leaving only one on the rack.

She said, “here! I got this for you!’

‘Really?  Thanks!  You’re the best!’

She looked at her daughter and said, ‘I told her we’re not leaving here until you get here.’

I was shocked.  In the climate where I thought we’d be fighting each other for something, she did something really nice. Would she have done it if there was only one, no way, that was hers.  Since there were a couple left, she helped me out.  As I was standing there looking at her in shock, a guy passed by with one.  So there were 4 for sure that I know about and that’s probably all they had.

 Would I have done the same thing?  I don’t know. I didn’t know her.  I’ll probably never see her again.  But I can promise you one thing, next time something like that happens, I’ll be a bit nicer and less cut-throat.  Or try to be more compassionate.  It is the season of giving after all.

Merry Christmas

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YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

SERIOUSLY?  I was shocked, floored, amazed and astounded when we turned on the radio in the car yesterday.  Completely gobsmacked.  It was November 1, and time for me to really start thinking about the seasonal things, decorations, Thanksgiving, you know what I mean.

But no, some other people around here wanted us to think about something else entirely!  CHRISTMAS!  Two of our radio stations here have gone to a 24/7 Christmas format and it was barely November!  If I’d had my radio on Saturday night, they probably had already started it then!  WTH???

I am so not ready for Christmas!  My husband works in retail and this is the time of year I become what I call a ‘retail widow’ because of all the extra hours he has to work.  He goes to a six-day week at Thanksgiving, but because of budget constraints and running a skeleton crew, he’s basically doing it now.  ARGH!

Don’t get me wrong.  I love the Christmas music as much as anybody, but not until around, oh, say, Thanksgiving!  That’s when they used to switch to the holiday format.  I wonder how many listeners they lose by doing this.  You know, the Jewish people, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, etc.  Really.  If you were not of that religious persuasion and your fave radio station switched to an all-the-time, day-and-night format of music from a holiday that you didn’t celebrate, or necessarily understand, what would you do?  I know what I’d do, stop. 

Oh well, they dont’ ask me and I guess if the advertisers are paying them to do it, they’ll keep doing it, right?  As for me, I’ll wait til Thanksgiving to really start thinking about Christmas. And I’ll even wait until the turkey is cold!

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