Sunday, February 17, 2008

By the way

How did you do on your January goal?  I accomplished mine.  All started sewing projects DONE!  Wahoo!  Now on to February.  My goal:  be cleaner.  I have a habit of leaving out the cereal in the morning and the bread at lunch.  I am trying to keep the kitchen just a bit tidier.  I am measuring it with a bean jar, 10 beans in it.  For every time I mess up, I remove a bean.  At the end of the day, I empty the jar into a big jar.  When the big jar is full, I get a prize!  (Yes, I am motivated by shallow, juvenile bribes.)  At the end of February, I will be able to measure how well I did on my goal by how many beans in the big jar.  Even if I don't get a tangible prize, I will be rewarded by physically seeing, both in the jar and in my house, the results of my efforts.  Already it's made a difference.

What's your February goal?

Belated Valentines

Did it pass you by too soon?  Or are you glad it's over?  True it's argued to be too commercialized, too unimaginative, too trite, too  shallow, too "single-awareness" of a holiday celebrating romance.  But, you know, that is said about every holiday. Maybe not the single-awareness part. To all the holiday scrooges, I offer this counter:  It's a holiday for a reason. You don't have to celebrate anything that irks you. But allow others to enjoy their celebration of something good without spreading the gripes.

This year I've taken a pledge.  I, too, sometimes feel that holidays are advertised to the extreme.  But I decide to approach it from the angle of what can I do to make it matter, and better, not what can I do to gripe.   In my effort to make it matter, I'm trying to do gifts of thought, not price. Not to demean the value of chocolate or flowers: I admit those have a special place in my heart, and I am shallow or typical enough that I do enjoy those standard gifts.  (Standards are also standards for a reason).  So, what does I mean by gifts of thought, not price? Mostly, handmade or thought-full gifts.  These include gifts of my time instead of my money.  And I think that most people try very hard to spend their thought as well as their money on their gifts for others.  And I like to encourage that. 

I am lucky enough to have a Valentine in my life, and for the Romance day this year I wrote him a book.  It's simple.  It's made of cardstock and a manilla folder I had in my house. Only 9 pages in big print, each page with a different kind of fabric heart in the center. And it is the best valentine I've given.  What a reward for me to see his face as he recognized the silly, sometimes cheesy, but specific reasons of why he is special to me.  And he's not the cheesy type.  But it mattered to him.  And it was better than anything I could have bought because it was so personal.  So what about the pledge, you say?   It's this:  I pledge this year to spend more giving of my self, not my money, on the people that matter most to me.  Not only will it be healthy for the wallet, it's healthy for the heart.