Welcome to January’s Birthday Blog, with a post – or maybe more – a day for your entertainment and fun :).
Today’s second guest is TEMPLE DRAGON. Please show your appreciation for the post if you enjoy it, and all the author’s links are below for you to take forward. Watch every day for any Rafflecopter giveaways, and don’t forget there’s ALSO a Grand Prize Draw at the end of the month for ONE lucky commenter.
Many thanks for dropping in, and have a great January!
A Reverse Advent
For those that follow the Gregorian Calendar – Happy New Year!
December was a time of gratitude for me. Having had a rubbish experience in Morocco where everything took from me, it reinforced my choice to be the positive change I want to see in the world. This took the form of a reverse advent calendar. Instead of getting something every day in December, I chose to give or do something for free. Logistically speaking, it wasn’t a one-a-day occurrence. Three would often come at once, but I achieved twenty four items.
- Holly Leaves. I had my holly tree (it stopped being a bush many moons ago) pruned this year. I donated the trimmings to a local independent florist. She absolutely loved the five sacks of variegated leaves as the yellow edging makes a big difference to the appearance of wreaths and balls.
- The Lady in the Van. A buddy of mine wanted to see this film before they stopped showing it, but due to a pet’s illness was short of cash. I paid for her to go with me.
- Allo Allo. I grow plants from free seeds (read: things I eat) and cuttings, and finally my avocado nuts have sprouted. My Aloe Vera cuttings have also taken. I gave these away for free to people that wanted plants to look at in Winter.
- Five Gold Rings. Periodically, I receive money off vouchers for a jewellery company. I went into the store and gave it to a lady who was totting up if she could afford to buy the presents she wanted.
- Café du Chat Noir. Friends in Cardiff have set up an independent café themed about France and Black Cats. I took photos for free for them to be used professionally to promote their business.
- Penny Lane Is In My Eyes. The vintage shop across the street from the café asked if I could do professional photos of their stuff while I was there.
- Christmas Jumpers. A local homeless guy has a sign saying “I’m homeless, not invisible.” I gave him a big fluffy red jumper that I don’t wear any more. He certainly won’t be invisible in that. I also gave him individual sachets of tea, coffee and hot chocolate that I’ve picked up from hotels.
- All Aboard. Cardiff public transport continues to be… interesting. My last visit, the bus station was a pile of rubble and the coaches were in a distant park. I took a bag-laden lady to the train station. Finally, all my trips to Cardiff over the years in search of Doctor Who filming locations have been put to good use.
- Keepsake Photos. Having scaled Cardiff Castle Keep, I took photos of other people that had made the climb with the Winter Wonderland park in the background. Arty.
- When I’m Cleaning Windows. Our window cleaner was doing next door’s windows on a particularly cold day. I made him filter coffee with an all butter mince pie. I switched on our outdoor Christmas lights so he could see them. It was enough warmth to feel his hands, and enough light to see any bits he had missed.
- Birmingham is also undergoing major public transport changes. I was heading to the Hippodrome to see The Nutcracker ballet. An elderly woman asked if I knew where the Hippodrome was. Other people she had asked had pointed her in the wrong direction, so it was fortunate I was going anyway. I shared my umbrella with her, as she’d been caught out by the rain, and stayed with her very slow walking place until we arrived.
- S is for Stockings. Family friends came around for the annual Christmas visit. Before I was born, her mother knitted large stockings to put presents in. We do presents under the tree now, so we returned the stockings to their original family. They are going to the maker’s great-grandchildren.
- Belly dance bling. For a time, I danced for money. I had a costume in every colour as part of the troupe. Now I dance for fun only, and offered my costumes for free to other dancers.
- Cat-mas. A friend has a furry hoard who like playing with the tree decorations and lights. I gave them lights and decorations we don’t use often enough to justify keeping.
- For a belly dance party, I took the time to put dance files on my music player so they could dance their solo routines. It’s nice to put my computer-fu to good use.
- Hey Mister Sandman. A neighbour was struggling to put the last bits of sand from builder’s bags into a bucket, so I did it for him. Their drive is now tidy.
- Offered photos of my New Zealand holiday to someone who has never managed to get to the South Island in their many trips.
- Lonely This Christmas. An aunt died this year, and my Mom would be home alone like my uncle. I arranged with my cousin for them to get together so they had someone Christmas Day.
- Pounding the Streets for Money. My local bus service doesn’t give change. A guy was asking people at the bus station if they could break a pound up. I gave him the 20p he needed so he wasn’t overcharged by the bus for his day ticket. We ended up on the same bus and had a chat about creating and distributing money in a way that makes it abundant for all.
- I See Red. My auburn hairdresser has inflammation, a busy seasonal schedule, and a bad reaction to pharmaceutical drugs. I gave her my natural anti-inflammatory tablets.
- Leather Bound. A couple recently had a baby, so I gave them a massive plain paper journal to make a record of their new life together.
- Charity Case. I filled a suitcase full of things I have duplicates of, or don’t use often enough to justify keeping, and took it to a local independent charity shop.
- Community Spirit. My local community centre runs an initiative to get kids to use their hands, as just using computers is hindering dexterity development. I gave them a broken toaster to cannibalise, along with yoghurt pots I can’t recycle and bits of ribbon I cut from my clothes. They made epic steampunk robots.
- A buddy in a rural county is housebound by anxiety, so I braved public transport on Christmas Eve to make sure they have someone for Christmas. I put on my Santa robes for the journey, which kept the kids on the train quiet in wonderment. I told the adults the reindeer were on a test flight to see if they could do it in a night.
How did this have a positive impact on my life? Warm fuzzy feelings, as people said a verbal thank you. One day, I came home to a holly ball hanging on my front door, made with my trimmings and added red ribbon. I got a lift to the cinema rather than going on public transport. People gave me plant cuttings of different Aloe Vera species. I got food from a café that would not keep until the next open day (a free meal). I got to do something that helped others when I’d just missed a bus and was waiting for another one. I shared conversation over coffee on my back doorstop – who stops for coffee and chat with their neighbours anymore? I have three massive builder’s bags to put my firewood in. I get to see my stuff being used, and bringing joy to others, rather than it sitting clogging up space in my home. I reminded myself about my unique gifts and talents. I saw people dance routines, gaining confidence and sharing their unique choreography. The shop I get my natural remedies from gave me a voucher, which essentially paid for me to restock my anti-inflammatories. I reminded myself how much I enjoy dressing up. I got to see other people’s Christmas decorations at night as I went by on the bus. I also got an extra Christmas, which my home celebrated on the Solstice. Result.
Mostly, I learned trust in the universe. It reminded me of the belief in a “yes” universe – that whatever I think or say, the universe says “yes”. I chose to be generous, and the universe gave me even more in return. I ask myself every time I’m presented with a delay or unexpected occurrence – what is this an opportunity to do?
As Clare is also running a free gift at the end of the month, this is my contribution – a sterling silver and genuine gemstone rainbow necklace. I’m also offering a photo, which you can choose from here http://www.viewbug.com/member/templedragon
(Clare: these gifts will be part of the GRAND DRAW for all commenters at the end of the month)
Follow the month’s posts at your leisure: