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Category Archives: Inspiration Thursdays

Because Thursdays’ child has far to go…

Inspiration Thursdays: Give It Away (a Quote Roundup to Help Inspire Simple, Frugal Giving)

Because Thursday’s child has far to go…

I want to ask a question today: Do you know what you have to give?

I ask this because I know life is busy and we don’t often think about what we have to give. But we should. We’ve all faced difficult times in our lives. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. It is a part of the reality of living. There are peaks and valleys. That is just how life is. This week I have encountered at least five people who are struggling with personal tragedies and hardships. It made me wonder just how many people we cross paths with in a day who are quietly enduring some kind of difficulty or pain. It has inspired me to ask you to consider, for just a minute, what you have to give away. Forget, for today, financial giving. Get back to basics and more creative that that.

I love quotes and rounded some up for you today to inspire you to give simply.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” -Plato, ancient Greek philosopher

Be gentle and understanding. You don’t know what the woman behind the checkout counter is going through today. Or the customer service person taking your call. Or the man who sits quietly next to you in church every Sunday. Realize people may be facing mountains today and they still have to get through their lives just like the rest of us.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” -Leo Buscaglia, American author, motivational speaker and professor

Each of us has more power to give joy and hope to others than we realize.

“Wherever there is a human being, there is opportunity for kindness.” -Seneca, Roman philosopher

Don’t let the opportunity to give gentleness and kindness pass you by. You might be the only one today that offers it to that person. It might change their life.

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet

Remember that when you pour out kindness, it is the kind of giving away that fills you up. Don’t hold it back. Don’t worry about the right words. Worry about the right intentions. Kind intentions go a long, long way.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”  -Scott Adams, American Cartoonist

You don’t have to solve the economic troubles of our country, win a Nobel Peace Prize, or give a million dollars. Small acts of kindness are contagious and powerful.

“Don’t look down on anyone unless you are helping them up.” -Jesse Jackson, American civil rights activist and Baptist Minister

Don’t judge someone. Kindness isn’t judgemental.

“I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet” Author Unknown.

My grandfather used to recite this quote when I was a child and it stuck with me. It helps me remember that no matter what my challenge is, someone else is struggling harder than I am.

“Be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give him yours.” -Zig Zigler, American Author, salesman, and motivational speaker

(This one was sent my way by a reader and I so appreicated it. Thanks Melanie!)

It’s not always the big things that change people’s worlds. Hold the door for someone. Let someone else who has only a small handful of items in their cart go before you in line at the grocery store (or that frazzled mom who’s child is having a meltdown). Tell someone you like their hair or that they’re wearing a nice shirt. Notice something special in someone and tell them. Appreciate them out loud. Be kind to people you encounter today. Purposefully and genuinely kind. Giving doesn’t have to be about money. Give what you’ve got: Give away kindness. Give your time or your talent. Give away your smile.  It’s the most frugal way to give because it won’t cost you a dime. Be inspired to simply give. You’ll be glad you did.

Inspiration Thursdays: Give Credence to Your Ideas (and 10 Inspiring Quotes)

Because Thursday’s child has far to go…

Today I watched my boys playing in the dirt. What they were doing, exactly, I do not know. They were covered in orange desert sandy clay and joyful. They clearly had an idea and a willingness to explore it. This is one of the amazing things about childhood. Even when their idea might seem nonsensical to the adult mind, a child is open to explore any fleeting notion. It is their inclination to explore simple notions, without self judgement, without delay that leads them to learn something good, bad or otherwise. When we learn something new we cannot be the same as before we’d gained that knowledge. We grow. It opens us to movement. It gives us momentum. It propels us forward and sometimes in an entirely different direction than we had expected to go. Ideas matter. It is important to give credence to your own ideas, even the fleeting ones. Don’t let them pass you by.

My back to basics, rice and beans life began with an idea. I wanted something better. I didn’t know how to get there, but I knew it was where I wanted to go. And that’s where I have been headed for a while now. It all started with a simple idea.

Because I love quotes and the ideas of others, I wanted to share some inspiring favorites with you today:

1. “A half-baked idea is okay as long as it’s in the oven.” –Author Unknown

2. “I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism, have brought me to my ideas.”  – Albert Einstein

3. “It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in ideas, and not in circumstances.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. “Believe in something larger than yourself. . . . Get involved in the big ideas of your time.”– Barbara Bush

5. “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”– John Steinbeck

6. “Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.” – Thomas Edison

7. “No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered.”– Winston Churchill

8 “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” –Robin Williams 

9. “Just once in a while let us exalt the importance of ideas and information.” –Edward R. Murrow 

10. “They fall from the sky, they run round your head,they litter your sleep as they beckon, they’d teach you to fly without wires or thread, they promise if only you’d let them.” -Mary Chapin Carpenter, from the song “Ideas are Like Stars”

I’d love it if you post a comment to tell me what you think:

Which quote inspired you today or do you have another favorite idea-based quote? Do you give credence to your ideas or do you let them pass on by?

Inspiration Thursdays: How Available is Your Curiosity?

Because Thursday’s child has far to go…

I love the endless, lopsided, untamed curiosity of children. We were grocery shopping this past week when we walked by the coconuts in the produce department. My son pointed at the hairy brown orb and said “Hey Mom, that’s a REAL coconut right? Where do they grow? How do they  taste? How come it’s not white? How come it has poky hair on it? It kinda looks like a bowling ball right? These three spots right here….” This was all said in the form of a run-on sentence indicating his runaway curiosity and there was not a single breath separating his thoughts so that I might answer. So I waited. My answers seemed not to be what he was looking for in his expository exclamations on the mighty coconut. In that moment it was the endless chain of explosion of thought, inspiration and curiosity that mattered. I waited for the eruption of words to end, as it usually did, with the final sentence: Can we get one? Plleeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeeee? I laughed. I usually do (unless we are in a hurry, or the store is crowded or they are missing half of what I need). How could I flatten the curiosity of my little boy? He wasn’t asking me for a new electronic, plastic, brightly colored overly marketed toy. He was asking me to help him fill his endless thirst for knowledge. Because fostering curiosity, knowledge and observation skills are high on our list of priorities in our home there was no way I was going to say no to this one (I do, on occasion, when time or budget constraints determine that we must). I helped him to choose just the right one, picking each up and shaking, listening for what we guessed was just the right sound of sloshing of coconut water inside to indicate a healthy pick. We put it in the shopping cart, amidst the container of milk and bag of sugar, making sure not to squash the bread or eggs. I marveled at how inspired a child could be in the mundane of a grocery store produce department (particularly in the grocery store we were in. Back where I come from produce departments can be dazzling in their color and selection but we are in the desert. Dazzling does not occur in our produce department here.). For a child, discovery and inspiration seem to be everywhere, whether looking up to high cottony clouds or squatting low to inspect a chain of marching ants in the dirt. Their curiosity is available. Unshakeable. Almost unfathomable sometimes. There amongst the lettuces and potatoes, I let my child lead me down the wonder road of inspired curiosity. I made myself available to the joy he could not help but share in his need to understand the humble tropical coconut. We continued on with our produce shopping with me lost in thought, considering that I had no idea how to crack open a coconut and thankful that the internet and Youtube exist. I was still trying to figure out our coconut adventures as we wandered by the selection of nopal cactus and heard again…”Hey Mom………”

Comment Worthy:

Can you find your simple childlike curiosity today to inspire you to something new or different?

The inspired coconut

Inspiration Thursdays: The Problem with Perfect

Because Thurdsay’s child has far to go…

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.” Anne Lamott, American best-selling author

I hate the word ‘perfect’. Ok. Hate is a strong word. I really, really don’t like it though. Many moons ago, in another galaxy far, far away, I used to sell beautiful, frothy, extraordinary wedding gowns to extremely happy, glowing, beautiful women (most ladies in love, in my opinion, have a beauty in them that is about hope and love and all things of good expectations). I loved that job. It was fun to be a small part of helping someone to have one of the most extraordinary days of their lives. But I learned something extremely important from the owner of that shop: Never, ever utter the word ‘perfect’. Especially to a bride. Why? I remember thinking this was pretty extreme the first time she mentioned it to me, but I’d worked in that business long enough to know that it could have some serious pitfalls. The longer I worked there, however, the more important that advice became. The problem with ‘perfect’ is that it is extremely relative. When you are looking for perfection it often leads to expectations that exceed reality (yes, there were conversations in our shop that actually involved the detailing of physics to some of these brides who had ideas of perfection in their heads. Even the best bridal salons and most talented seamstresses could not defy physics.) ‘Perfect’ is highly over-rated. What it often does is cause us to wait, frozen in our tracks like a deer in headlights instead of taking chances and finding perfection IN the imperfection of our lives. Perfection impedes our progress. It’s a nice idea. We can look for better, sure, and  ‘perfect’ can be a fine ideal, sometimes. But it’s a slippery slope. Sometimes it can hold you back and push you down. There will never be the perfect time to say I love you. There will never be a perfect time to have your children. There will never be a perfect time to simplify your life. There will never be a perfect house or a perfect job. There will also never be perfect frugality or a perfect budget, incidentally. There will never be perfect. So whatever it is you’ve been waiting for in the idea that ‘perfect’ will show up eventually, consider that maybe perfect will show up in the imperfections in your journey. But keep moving. Keep trying. Don’t let ‘perfect’ hold you back.

Inspiration Thursdays: Even Warren Buffett Looks for the Simple Way

Because Thursday’s Child has far to go…

I like to look for simple inspirational quotes sometimes. I don’t feel the need to make a long list of them. Just to sit and consider a really good one. Today’s is this:

“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”

~Warren Buffett, American investor, industrialist and philanthropist

What I like best about this quote is that it reminds us that we don’t have to look for difficult things in our lives to make positive changes or achieve results. We can keep it simple and achievable. We can look for easy and do-able things to make inroads to success. Thank you Mr. Buffett. I think I’ll take this inspiring advice today!

What 1 foot bars can you step over to help you achieve a simpler or more frugal life today? Inspire others in the Comments-everyone needs inspiration on occasion.

Inspiration Thursdays: What Do You Call a Goal Without a Plan?

Because Thursday’s child has far to go…

When I lived in Tennessee there were more churches in my town, it seemed, than in any other place I’d ever lived. And nearly every church had a sign outside-the kind where they change the letters on it every week to let you know what’s going on or to give people driving by something to think about. A few years ago, driving down the road in the rain after having taken my kiddo to a Kindermusik class I saw a sign that said this:

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

It struck a chord with me. It’s been more than two years since I saw that sign and I still remember what it said. I don’t recall what church the sign was for or what day it was, only the general route I was driving, the rain…and this message. I remember laughing to myself about it at the time. It was so obvious! Wasn’t it? It was so on the mark! Right?

I read a blog post yesterday over on Simple Mom about living with intention and about having an intentional summer. I realized there were a lot of things I wanted to do to create wonderful summer memories for our family. But sure enough we are halfway through June and summer is slipping by. I have yet to accomplish any of the things I really would like to do for summer. Even the simple things. Again. It occurred to me that one more summer is just slipping by me with ideas just floating around in my brain. It became clear, reading that blog post that I have all these great intentions that are going nowhere! I sat back in my chair a minute and really thought about it. And that’s when I remembered the message on that sign outside the church. What I had on my hands was just a wish. I had no plan. And a goal without a plan really is just…a wish. For a minute I felt like I was failing my kids but the reality was, I was failing myself.

I decided, in that moment, to rectify the matter. I grabbed the closest pencil and a scrap of paper within reach and called my oldest over to me because my youngest can still only say things like “ddoowwwwww” which I’m not entirely sure means “dad” or “down” or “dog.” So while the littlest sat at our feet, I asked my oldest what he wanted to do everyday to make summer fun. You know what he said? He wants to walk the dog early in the morning when there are more birds out. He wants to paint the rock he found up in a mountain town near our home. He wants to do more art. He wants to swim and run in the sprinklers. And ride bikes to the library. These are such wonderful simple things. And they are now all on our list. We’re going to make a “summer board” to put up in the kitchen to keep us inspired this summer and keep making plans for these wishes so they become goals-attainable goals. And we’re going to have ourselves a wonderful memorable summer.

What wishes do you have, for summer or life in general, that need a plan?

Jumping into summer

Inspiration Thursdays: A Free Tool for You Today

Because Thursday’s child has far to go…

 “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” – Maria Robinson

I’ve got a free “tool” for you today.

It’s a funny thing about budgets and getting debt free. It’s about money, our beliefs about money, and our behavior with money. And I don’t know about the rest of the world, but we Americans seem to have a lot of shame about how much money we make or don’t make. How we manage or don’t manage it. What we know or don’t know about money (which according to some recent surveys I’ve read is pretty paltry but we’re all starting to fix that!). Today, I want to suggest to you that money is a tool. It’s no different than a hammer. Or a wrench. Or a screwdriver. When my husband and I first got married we had a piddling little mix of tools that were mostly old and hand-me-down and housed in a rusty old classic metal red tool box (my favorite, of course, is the little all-in-one hammer-screw driver my grandma gave me years ago and  clearly that suits my rice and beans practical nature!). Over time we’ve added many tools to that rusty old tool box. We keep the box because we love the patina of it and it reminds us of where we came from. We keep the old tools for the same reason. Over time we’ve added new tools as we’ve found needs for them and as we’ve been able to acquire them-some used, some new. They serve us well and we’ve learned to better use our tools along the way.

What if, for just a minute, you stopped letting money define your success and started seeing and using it for what it really is: a tool? How would that change your habits and your approach to it? Would it take some pressure off your shoulders and lighten your heart a little bit? One of my favorite financial “tools” is super budget friendly. It’s FREE. I have developed the habit of downloading a free podcast from Dave Ramsey to listen to while I log miles on my treadmill (when I’m running outside I’m in God’s country and listen to inspiring music instead). But on my treadmill I plug in that podcast and get inspired not so much by Dave but by the people that call in to talk to Dave. I let others successes challenge and inspire me. I let their challenges and failures help me feel that I’m not alone and that if they can get through it so can I. I’ve even been inspired to let out a whoop of joy for other people I’ve never met after hearing their success stories. In that moment I know I can and will get there too. I encourage you to try this tool out to let it inspire you whether you are debt free now and staying on track or still trying to get there. Do it just once. If you don’t like it-it was free-and since we all know just how budget friendly FREE is-it’s worth giving it a shot. Check out Dave Ramsey’s Free One Hour Podcast

Money is a tool. Knowledge is a tool. Inspiration is a tool. Let that give you a fresh start today to work toward your new ending!

If you’ve got some great inspirational tools in your tool box about your money and your budget-I’d love to know about them-comment away!