Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Be The Story

While I huffed and puffed, I got the freaking tree up and I am doing OK.



It has been hard lately to get up the energy to take in the spirit of the season. Even without all the fa-la-la, I did decorate the house, this time being very mindful of what is taken out of the Christmas boxes and put up will, in a short time, need to be taken down and put away. I have always found that dismantling is a lot more work, maybe because it has to be done in a shorter time.  Less is best needs to be my new mantra. The holiday colors are on display but in what I call a tasteful and not in an abundant way.  It suits me now and is far removed from the once "deck the halls (tables, windows, ceiling, etc. etc.)"  person I have been in the past.  It is time to scale back in so many ways and I am pretty sure I will do fine with the new plan.  Besides, now I have time to enjoy the little things and think about what pleases me without the anxiety of go-go-go.

One thing that I enjoy doing during this time of year is to look for good TRUE stories that show the generous spirit of our fellow human beings.  I have a favorite, however, it is not a Christmas story, but good people don't need a holiday to show kindness towards others.  This narrative was published in our local paper last August and is about a gentleman who opened a car wash along a country road and wanted to bring attention to his enterprise. Drivers often missed him because for five months a year, a corn field blocked their view.   He decided to plant some sunflowers in the hope that people would notice them and his business. People stopped and started remarking on the flowers' beauty and how they enjoyed the scene.  As the years passed, more and more sunflowers were planted and with the help of two local farmers, the field was flush in the brilliance of tall yellow heads that looked like big smiles.  "This is my gift to the community", Mr. Frey said. With all the sad things in today's world, I'd like to think of this plot of good earth as a place where people can come for serenity and peace."  There are thousands of sunflowers and people come not only to look but are invited to take some flowers with them.  A lady who was there told of taking some bouquets for her wedding and reception a few years ago and now she comes back with her child to relive the memory. It just took a few seeds to sow this joy into the hearts of many. 

Just a seed, or a cup of coffee for a stranger, or any simple thing can make someone happy or maybe even affect their day or life.  It makes us feel warm and fuzzy to read these good stories, but think how much better it would be if we were part of the story, if we were the one who initiated the kindness. I have always found that it is better to give than to receive.  Blessings don't necessarily come from above, they are often from the hearts of those who care and who reach out towards others. 

If I don't have a chance to write another post before the holidays, I want to wish you all peace, joy and serenity in the coming days.  May the season of hope bring you many smiles - just like a sunflower.    








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65 comments:

  1. What a lovely post and may you find peace, joy and serenity as well.

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  2. This moved me to tears. Thank you - and all the best for the season, and the year to come.

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    1. It is hard not to be emotionally affected by the simple act of kindness. When I read that story in the paper, I cut it out to save and have thought about it over and over. Maybe it was because of the flowers as I love to garden, but it was more about a man that wanted to bring joy and beauty into other people's lives. Thank you for your kind words, EC.

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  3. Hey...glad to see the penguins 'made the cut\ lol. What a lovely men to plant sunflowers for every one to enjoy.

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    1. OMG I just looked again and I have those very same beaded branches on our tree. Well, it's a small world isn't it?

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    2. Thanks to you, Delores, this is the second year the penguins are perched on my tree. They make me smile.

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  4. Wishing a good X Mas season ... Love, cat.

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  5. This is a precious story of love in action!
    We just put up our tree. Couldn't find all the decorations since our move. Making do, and tree looks great.

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    1. With luck, Susan, they fell off the truck and now you don't have to make decisions about them.

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  6. A lovely story that warms the heart.

    I gave up putting up a tree and decorations a few years ago. There is only me and my two furry rascals. I just don't see the point...and as you say, the taking down is the worst part, I reckon! lol

    I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Arleen. Take good care. :)

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    1. I really did not feel like putting it up this year, but I am glad that I did. When the lights are on I still get that warm feeling that is the magic of Christmas.

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  7. I sincerely enjoyed this post, and the story of the man who shared some beauty with others. I'm also happy to see I'm not the only one who is changing their views on this crazy wonderful holiday and scaling back a bit in hopes of enjoying it more. The new header photo is fabulous. You are a joy.

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  8. So that car wash wasn't opened for the same reason as the one in Breaking Bad - to launder drug money!
    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and that 2017 is a better year (for everyone!)
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s resumed Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Bazza, I think that I am one of the very few that has never seen Breaking Bad. I do watch its sequel or I guess it might be a prequel, Better Call Saul. It Is an interesting story.

      I wish you a happy holidays with your family.

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    2. It might be interesting to watch Breaking Bad (which is totally gripping) and find out what happens to Saul!

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  9. Wise words my dear blogging friend. Adding beauty to the world is a valuable thing to do whether you plant flowers or ensure a hungry child gets fed. There is so much need in the world and at times it makes me very sad. If only everyone who could, would do a little bit, surely things would be better. So I'll plod on planting more and more flowers and feeding kids. As for decorations I will always have a lighted tree as I love sitting in the dark with just the Christmas lights on. Let me indulge in a British phrase-may this Christmas warm the cockles of your heart.

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    1. I do think that most people are kind and always try to do good. However, we are being overwhelmed by the voices of negativity and they have the microphones. We all need to plant more flowers to muffle their sounds.

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  10. We haven't done a lick of Christmas decorating this year, but if we do, it's gonna be minimal. (Maybe I should just put fake antlers on our cats and call it a day...)

    Your story about the sunflower man is heartwarming. Reminds me of an old-fashioned hymn my grandmother used to sing: "Brighten the Corner Where You Are."

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas filled with love, joy, peace... and cookies. Must have cookies.

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    1. Antlers on the cats, hmmm, good idea, Susan. That might just put me in the mood to fa-la-la.

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  11. This is a lovely post. And as you say it doesn't need to be Christmas .... I hope yours is peaceful and happy.

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    1. I have heard people say, "If only the spirit of Christmas with good will towards men lasted all year", but I volunteer at a food bank and am privileged to see it all the time. Human beings, when shown a need, will usually act in the right way - except when they don't.

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    2. That is a good thing to do, and how restorative. Happy 2017.

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  12. Love this blogpost as much as I love sunflowers. Arleen you are so much in my thoughts at this time. Wishing you and yours a happy, peaceful Christmas xx

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    1. Sunflowers are a gift that keep giving and giving.

      Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, dear Molly. You are a person that I think about often and know that if we lived closer, we would be the best of friends.

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  13. I truly love what you posted it had great meaning, thank you!

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    1. I read your last post and became a follower. Your thoughts are very close to mine.

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    2. Thank you Arleen, it's so nice meeting you, a person who thinks somewhat like I do, for I certainly believe we're all interconnected.

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  14. Aw, that's so sweet. I find it hard to take true hero stories. Just tonight, CNN did its Heroes of the Year program about people making a huge effort to help their communities. I bawled my eyes out. I'm very used to seeing cruelty, stupidity and selfishness in the world, but when I find true kind altruists, I get so touched and then the waterworks come. Especially these days with the Trump-monster on TV every day with his "Thank you" tour, or what I like to call "Applaud for me and bask in my glory" show. Thanks for sharing your decorations. I love all the Christmas pretties!

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    1. Yes, the world seems to be full of disturbing things and people these days. Thankfully though, there are more of us who want to live our lives in a more positive way.

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    2. PENGUIN!!! I love the cute penguin ornament in your new header. <3 Wishing you a peaceful and merry Christmas!

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  16. What an inspirational holiday story! Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas filled with joy and laughter!

    Julie

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  17. That is a beautiful story. I love how you say: 'Just a seed, or a cup of coffee for a stranger, or any simple thing can make someone happy or maybe even affect their day or life.' Good to remember this for the holidays and all year!

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    1. Thank you, Amy. I hope you and your beautiful family have a great time together during the holidays.

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  18. Hi Arleen - what a lovely story and thanks so much for coming over to my blog and leaving a comment. It is a smile makes so many days ... opening the door, letting others go first and so on - but to see a country lane get planted with sunflowers is just amazing. Beautiful ...

    Wishing you a happy and pleasant festive season and all the best for 2017.

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. It is so easy to be kind and it takes such little effort. Smiling is also good for the face muscles.

      Enjoy your holidays and may there be many days of sunshine for you in 2017.

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  19. i absolutely LOVE THIS POST! Beautifully written and so true. Love the sunflower story. Thank you for sharing that with us. Like you, we have scaled back ALOT over the past years with downsizing and the leaving of the nest for the grown children. I just put up the most important/sentimental things. Like you, I have come to see what a huge job it is to TAKE IT ALL DOWN and put it away and we are not spring chickens anymore, everything takes longer and is harder. We are enjoying what we did put up though...a little tree instead of one in EVERY SINGLE WINDOW like we did in the big house when the kids were little. A manger scene for sure up on the mantel, but not ALL THE FLOWERS, garland, lights, etc. with it. I did so enjoy putting up bright multi color lights around the front facing windows,I love those! We've just simplified alot and I no longer decorate bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. Do you? About the question about my pictures of the windows--yes, I DO HAVE a great zoom and I love it...however all of the photos except for a few on that post were not zoomed. Especially that kitchen one.....beleive it or not---that just sits right on the sidewalk and you can't HELP BUT LOOK IN and notice as you walk by! ha ha ha LOL Thats what downtown Charleston city living is like, you do give up lots of privacy but those who live here dont complain because we do love the history and charm and all that outweighs that. A few (only a few) leave their windows open and bright lights on at night and you can fully see in...me---I like CURTAINS, HA HA. I dont know if its that they like to show off/display their beautiful homes and antiques or what...me-- what few antiques we do have I wouldn't WANT strangers looking in and "casing the joint"...ha ha LOL Some, a few of the homes are left open with open curtains at night because they are actually museums full of beautiful furniture and paintings etc...but it's real hard to tell which is which anymore really. I certainly dont go around staring into people's windows but some--like that kitchen with the tomatoes in the window---well you just cant HELP BUT SEE IN. LOL LOL LOL Hope your holidays are coming along nicely, I think of you often and hope all is well. Again, I did love this sunflower story

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    1. Time and a sore back is a catalyst to scaling back. Thank you for your kind words and I hope you have a wonderful scaled back Christmas.

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  20. Sometimes somebody's post hits a reset button in me, reminding me of what life is really for and about. Thanks for resetting me today. And if we don't reconnect before, very happy holidays to you and yours.
    x

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    1. Thank you, Laura. Let's both look for good news and try to look past the bad in the coming year.

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  21. Stories like this one are much needed in this world of ours. Thanks for sharing it and making me smile. We are still OK and I will post something soon. Or Samson will or so he says. Thanks for checking back with me that's so nice of you.

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  22. I think of you often, Inger, and all you have gone through this past year and more. My heart is with you and your journey.. Bless you and I know that you will still look for joy and I know that Samson and Faith will be by your side to always be with you to show you the way.

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  23. I got the loveliest surprise in he mail today. Thank you so much. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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    1. I hope it had the right postage. Merry Christmas, Delores. I am so glad that you came back to Blogger. You were missed.

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  24. What a lovely post. I can visualize the field of sunflowers – such a great thought that turned out so nicely for all. I also liked your pretty heading with winter decorations. I still have my original clouds over Newfoundland and am afraid to change my heading. My daughter Celine put up the blog for me and now she lives in Pittsburgh. She would like us to visit … but it’s too cold there.
    I have no decoration yet because it is hard to get in the mood with Jim’s Alzheimer’s; he does not even know we are in winter, let alone close to Christmas. So I look at my old postcards or those I received but this year I only got 5 – people don’t write as many cards as before. I may place a couple Santa around to give Jim an idea about the season. We will be staying home since it has become so difficult and so exhausting for me to drive to TN and prepare everything and take care of him too, and we went there for Thanksgiving. I did get him a couple of little presents but know that of course he won’t get me any. But as you say the pleasure is in the giving, not in the receiving. Have a merry Christmas and good health for you and yours in 2017.

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    1. One of the biggest fears many of us have as we age is being an Alzheimer's patient. I know that every time I lose a word, a thought or my car keys, I worry. A loved one has had some major illnesses this year and I have been his caregiver. He has recovered and for that my family is very grateful but the physical and mental burden on me was very difficult. I can and can't imagine what you go through every day. I believe that when we are put through such a test, we survive because of love and strength. Bless you.

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  25. thank you so so much and same back to you!! There was some bad in this year but we made it through....and I pray the new year will be better for many of us have had many challenges and I know you had some for sure. My wish for you is a very happy Christmas and hope you have a real nice day and enjoy the festivities, the food, the season.

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  27. Sunflowers are beautiful, bright and cheerful. Your story reminds of a very creative old man that lived in town. Many, many years ago he started Circus Arts North, taking it out to the bush communities and teaching children circus skills. He was eventually slowed down by Parkinsons but had all these wonderful ideas still in his head. He got the community involved in his projects and everyone was willing to help. A year before he died he wanted to have this big living art installation in the fields just outside our little town. Everyone would be dressed in green and would juggle bright yellow scarves. As cars approached, from a distance we would look like sunflowers in the wind. I practiced and practiced but could not get it right. Unfortunately it never happened and he had to go into a home. But he still had his ideas despite his body giving up on him. He held a wake and a big street party a few months before he died... he wanted to be part of the celebration of his life. He drove us mad with his ideas, phone calls late at night wanting to know if I could knit a giant net to hang from the shed ceiling, to look like the sky and stars, using broomsticks as needles. Whenever I see sunflowers I always think of him, never shying away from the darkness and always turning to follow the sun. He touched so many people with his love of life.
    Blessings to you for the new year.

    Jan

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    1. What a wonderful story! He certainly loved life and tried to celebrate it with all he knew.

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  28. I too had to scale back on the Merriment and the Decor but it's Okay and in Simplifying the Holidays a lot more than previously, I too am enjoying the Simple Pleasures since they are magnified when you have more time to devote to them. Yes, we all can certainly be a part of the Story that uplifts and reaches out to humanity... and it doesn't have to be a big thing, just a small thing done with great Love... Happy New Year... Dawn... The Bohemian

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  29. Scaling back is not so hard and it is a little relief from the stress that we women feel at this time of year. Now comes the time whe I fold up the year and decide on what to do with those items that did not make the cut this year. I need to have an after Christmas sale in my basement sale in my basement this year. Happy New Year, Dawn.

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  30. Hi Arleen - thanks for coming by the blog - I do hope you have a peaceful 2017 .. and yes the more smiles we can give ... by planting seeds, taking our time and smiling etc etc ... all the best - Hilary

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  31. Hi Arleen, I took the same approach to decorating this year - less is better. I barely got anything out, and then took the time to truly sort through the "Christmas" bins, and divied it up between my two girls, and myself. There was plenty to go around, and a bit to pass on to others! Plus, even going through the bins, I got it all put away in record time - done and mostly back in the attic by Dec 28th! Unfortunately, I forgot about the wrapping paper mess that was securely hidden in an unused room . . . maybe soon I'll sort through that! Happy 2017!

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  32. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! I like true stories too that show the holiday spirit in action. Happy New Year!

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