Love that recycling!

CIMG1023 flower       So many ways to do what you love.  I had the good fortune today to attend an ART FAIR , sponsored by Northampton’s ReUse Committee.  All participating artists recycled, repurposed, upcycled, and mostly had fun creating uniquely one of a kind treasures.  And, they were clearly delighted in sharing their gifts with others.

Archie Nahman said:  I brought the flowers I gave to my wife. She said to be sure not to sell them.CIMG1022

Now that’s a floral arrange- ment that will never die.  I wish my photo did them justice.

P.S.  These people are having a lot of fun walking lighter on the planet and suggesting that we all do the same.



She’s an artist!

It’s good to pay attention to the skills you have and particularly the ones you are hesitant about “owning.”  In my view, far too many of us are hesitant to announce, “this is who I am.”  Or, at the very least “this is who I am some of the time and I really enjoy it!”

The young lifeguard at the Y where I swim, showed me her assigned sketches for her art class. “Oh, are you an artist?” I asked, admiring her talent. She  fumbled with “well”, “maybe”, and finally mumbled “I do cartoons.”

As we walked together and she held open the door for me, I said to her: “Let an old lady offer you a gift. The correct answer to that question is “Yes, I am an artist!”

Her grateful eyes told me that the gift had landed.

A random act of giving, the opportunity for which probably surfaces frequently with folks of any age.

Are you owning your gifts?  Are you helping others own theirs?

What about meaning?

We are not failures in life if we have chosen a primary job with which we are not “in love.”  Yet, there is always the opportunity for anyone to enrich their lives in smaller ways.  Exercising your passion can live within an avocation, as well as a hobby,  thus incorporating financial realities.   The notion of feeling fulfilled by even a portion of the activities in our lives,  allows us satisfaction on many fronts, and satisfies our needs for meaning and purpose.

What always catches my attention are the stories of people who have opened themselves enough to allow purpose and meaning to find them.  Perhaps they resonate with a strong need in their community, and just raise their hand to do something about it.   They decide that it makes sense for their family, and their values to “give back.”  Along the way, they discover that they are good at this “new service” they have just created and that the new purpose nourishes them.   A true combination of calling and contribution. is an example of one of those stories. Founded in 2002 in the Boston area by a woman who was seeking to involve her children in the practice of  giving to others, the organization started by providing a party, with cake, candles, and presents, for all the birthday children in one homeless shelter  each month.  It has since expanded to 3 neighboring states, 185 shelters or transitional living situations,  and spawned similar non-profits across the nation. It’s based on the premise that every child has a birthday and every child deserves to have it celebrated, regardless of the ability of the family to provide.

My heart warms when I think of the gifts being given to the children and families in difficulty.   Equally important are the “gifts” that accrue to the multitude of volunteers that are ostensibly doing the “giving.”  Sounds like a big win-win to me.

Look around!  What needs are calling for a contribution of your gifts and skills?