Tag Archives: Generosity

The Art of Showing Up

This week’s post honors those who have mastered the art of showing up for the people they care about.

It may be inconvenient, uncomfortable, risky, and completely beyond the call of duty, but they show up.

Remember that co-worker who gave you a ride to work when your car was in the shop? Or that twenty dollar bill stuck in your pocket when you ran out of cash before the next paycheck? These angels among us never “ghost” you in times of crisis.

Perhaps it is that listening, non-judgmental ear when you tell the SAME story for the 84th time, or the gentle encouragement after you break a promise to yourself that says “tomorrow is a chance to start fresh.”

Showing up is an art because we don’t get hatched being kind, selfless, compassionate or caring.

Our baby cries are all about US – what we want and need and must have NOW. I’m an advocate for loving yourself enough to take care of you, and I’ve written volumes on that subject.

But those beautiful souls who, despite their own drama and pain; despite their harried schedules and limited resources, who dig deep and give when you need it the most…

They make life not just bearable; they add joy where sorrow lived.

So adept at showing up (even when you don’t have the courage to ask), these beautiful people are the catalyst for everyday miracles.

When my marriage ended, I experienced those who had mastered the art of showing up. Renee, Cynthia, Anita, my sister, Shirlee, Roseann, Karen…I could have never survived without you.

There were nights that I would call Anita and have nothing to say and it was okay. She’d just listen to me breathe on the other end of the line – sometimes for hours – until I could handle the aloneness enough to hang up.

Back in my Bible college days when I scrounged up change to put gas in my car, my cousin Kimmy would drive up from South Jersey and slip a $20 bill in my pocket.

I tell a few more stories in this week’s video, but my heart is full of gratitude for the tender, generous hearts who have mastered the art of showing up.

They have schooled me in true love, and it has been a healing balm.

More stories from my “showing up” files – and a lovely new WOW here:

https://youtu.be/FHda6015E20

What a lovely word to begin my birthday week. I think I’ll take it for the entire year!

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Acceptance, Rejection (and the New WOW)

I am on a quest for self-acceptance – warts and all.

Concurrently, I’m becoming more and more clear about what I will NOT accept.

Unkindness.  Disrespect.  A callous disregard for my feelings.  Injustices perpetrated against myself (or those I love.)

I’ve discovered a new fight in me!  Brenda 2.0 is feisty!  She’s not buying what you’re selling (unless it is anti-aging serum, of course!) and she’s not afraid to tell you want she wants.

Which means that some new friendships have a short shelf life.

I have become a careful observer of behaviors that previously slipped under the radar screen.  For instance, I welcomed  a new friend to town and invited her as my guest for lunch.  The second time, knowing she was finding her footing, I took her to lunch again.  The third time was coffee…and she didn’t even attempt to pay her way.  The fourth visit – at her request – was another lunch.  When the bill came, she made no moves to her own pocketbook.

Here’s the thing:  I LOVE being generous.  But I do not love feeling taken advantage of or taken for granted.

And it’s not just about money.  Another new friend started a challenging position and was dealing with a host of nerves.  Each time I saw her, I’d encourage her and ask how it was going.  I delighted to hear about her progress and how what started as a source of angst had become a blessing.

When we recently ran into each other, an impromptu meeting turned into a half-hour conversation.  A completely one-sided conversation; a running diatribe about her position, her boss and her sales.

Not once did she ask how I was.  I don’t even think she knows what I do for a living!

I took a careful mental note.

Is it me, or is everyone completely self-consumed these days?

I used to be perfect fodder for narcissists because I was a captive audience with such self-esteem and acceptance issues, it never occurred to me that I was being bamboozled.

No more.

Now, we all fall into the trap of selfishness sometimes.  I love my other new friend, who admitted that in a recent conversation I wasn’t allowed to get a word in edge-wise.

Yes, I left the conversation considering if we would ever have another – after all, this is NOT the phase of my life where I’m going to waste time on one-sided friendships.

Then he called to apologize for running away with the conversation.

The point isn’t being perfect, but it is being humble enough to see how our behavior affects each other.

What are YOU accepting that is beneath you?  More on this (and the new WOW):

Oh, well let me praise my SISTERS and BROTHERS, because I am RICH with their love and kindness.

My real friends?  We FIGHT over who will pay the bill.  We always check in to see how each other is doing and usually have to be FORCED to talk about ourselves.  These precious gems are fail -safe cheerleaders, humorists, supporters, confidants…and truly the family God has given me.

This week, I will not retreat into my ever-ready shell.  I’m callin’ on you, sisters and brothers!  I can’t do this life without you, nor would I want to try.

Who comes to mind when YOU think of a sister or brother of the heart?

xoxoxox

Brenda

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Try a Little Tenderness (and the New WOW)

When I dipped into the bag and selected this week’s WOW, it warmed my heart.

I hope it does the same for you.  Some parting thoughts on HARMONY, first:

Everyday kindnesses often get overlooked, but they are the WD-40 that makes life’s challenges a bit less irritating and problems less, well, squeakier.

Kindness is a tenderizer.  Use lavishly!

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s day. Like when my neighbor saw me out letting Shasta do her business and she walked over and said, when I saw this, I thought of you.  (It was a little peacock magnet with the phrase “Always Dream Big.”)

She GETS me.

Don’t you just love when people GET you?

Maybe you’ve read those books about love languages, and so for me, generosity (and presents!) is a biggie for me.  That’s probably why I link kindness with generosity.  I tip big. I love orchestrating presents and surprises for people. I live for little clues about what the people I love might like and then seek them out with laser focus.

KINDNESS FEELS GOOD.

When you give it AND when you receive it.

When I’m having a bad day, I sometimes say “Take THAT!” to the negative energy and do something that pokes a hole in the universe.

Like paying for someone’s manicure or their cup of coffee.

Now YOUR thing may not be MY thing, and that’s great. My Aunt Joan bakes and cooks and makes peoples’ days.  My mom’s ricotta cookies are her random acts of kindness.  My sister will whip up a work of art from a quote you said you liked because art flows out of her like a waterfall.

Let’s spread our special sauce on the world this week (at least our little corner of it) and spread some KINDNESS.

Hugs!
Brenda

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