Each of us is gifted with certain talents. Your talents look different from mine and this is part of the beauty of expertise. We all have those certain things that come easily for us. Maybe we don’t even consider them talents because they feel so natural. Hopefully, we find ourselves using our talents to earn a living or to enjoy specific things in our free time.
A third rewarding way to utilize our talents and expertise is through volunteering. Helping others is one of those gifts in life where you often get back more than you give. Do you volunteer? If you do, you know what I’m talking about.
Think about your own “super powers”. How could you use those powers to serve others?
The possibilities are endless. In the words of the immortal William Shakespeare:
The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away.
Most volunteers go quietly about their business with the sole purpose of helping others. They don’t do it for the recognition or any personal gain. Sometimes they volunteer as a way to pass the time, but just as often, volunteers are people who make time to share their gifts with the world. Volunteers have big hearts.
I love programs in school that encourage kids to volunteer. It gives them the opportunity to experience all the unexpected side benefits of helping others. Volunteering can help you feel healthier, boost your mood, lower your stress and allow you to feel gratitude for all the blessings in your own life.
It can be as simple as watching for ways to help someone else, even when they don’t ask for help. Maybe you can shovel your elderly neighbor’s driveway or mow their grass when you are out doing your own.
Where can you make an impact?
Life offers us an amazing number of gifts. Sharing our time and talents with others is one of those special gifts that help the one giving as much as it helps the one receiving.
Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world! Kim
I admit it. For much of my life, I’ve been a snoozer. I’d set my alarm early enough so I could hit the snooze button a few times before I absolutely had to get up to avoid being late. Once in a while, I still do. Old habits die hard. But now, I usually get up at the first annoying buzz. I don’t wait.
When I was younger, it felt like I had all the time in the world to do all the things I wanted to do. If I didn’t make the time to do something that day, I could do it later. Can you relate? Time has taught me this casual approach to life is too expensive. It robs us of too much.
Life gifts us with wake-up calls all the time. When it comes to our own health, sometimes the signs are obvious. Why do I keep getting these headaches? Why won’t this rash go away? Or, God forbid, what is this lump?
The same thing can happen in other parts of our lives. Maybe someone you love gets sick or is suffering. Do you notice? If you see something is happening, do you step in to help or spend time with them?
As I was driving to the coffee shop, starting to sketch out this blog post in my mind, Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” came on the radio. As I sang along to every word, the irony wasn’t lost on me.
Let me back up a minute. I’ve always loved that particular song. The words are a poignant reminder to live life, every day. But I suspect another reason I love it so much is because I had the opportunity to see Tim perform it, in person, only feet from the stage, surrounded by a few thousand other women at a conference. I earned that spot, so close to the stage, pursuing an earlier dream of mine, shortly after I turned forty.
Milestone birthdays can serve as another wake-up call. Let them inspire you instead of depress you!
We are bombarded with important signs every day. When these signs or guideposts pop up too often, we may feel overwhelmed and turn a blind eye. I have come to realize two important things. First, watch for these signs and, even more importantly, act on them.
When I’ve paid attention and acted on some of the wake-up calls life has gifted to me, my life has been richer for it. On the other hand, there have been plenty of times I ignored a wake-up call. I can only imagine the opportunities I’ve missed.
When the alarm goes off, don’t hit snooze.
In the words of the notorious Steve Jobs:
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Trust your gut, follow the signs, and get the most out of every day. Maybe even try a little Rocky Mountain climbing. I’m cheering for you. Kim
Winter hasn’t quite given up its hold here yet. Last week, what started out as a rain and flashes of lightening quickly transitioned to hail, then sleet, then snow. Ten inches of the white stuff fell. Our yard still looks like a winter wonderland. Enough already!
Nature is giving us little glimpses of balmier weather ahead but it’s hard for me to wait. If winter is still holding the warmth of the sun at bay where you live, too, I invite you to close your eyes and travel back in time to memories of past summers. Think back to when you were a kid. How did summer taste, sound, smell and feel?
When I close my eyes and let my mind roam back, I can still feel hot concrete on the souls of my feet and the cold shock of the water when I jumped in the swimming pool. The vibration of my bat echoes through my hands and up my arms when I smacked a softball.
I can still taste the bubblegum flavor of my favorite pink ice cream at Country Boy Dairy. A quick bike ride to the quaint little ice cream shop was always a treat. Or the cotton candy and mini-donuts at the county fair on the 4th of July.
I remember the anticipation of catching a big fish from shore or from the boat when out with Dad or finding the best deal at Crazy Days while shopping with Mom. Back then, it was the simple things that made the heart beat a little faster. Those memories still occupy a corner of my mind.
I hear marching bands and the honk of miniture clown cars while watching parades down on Main Street. I can even feel the cold rain and heaviness of a vintage, wool dress I once wore on a float during an extra special parade. The skies opened up and everyone abandoned the floats, rushing into surrounding buildings to find shelter from a summer storm.
What do you feel, smell, hear and taste when you close your eyes and remember summer?
We all know we will eventually reach our next seasons but sometimes it’s hard to wait. When I get antsy, I try to keep in mind the words of Ralph W. Emerson:
Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.
We all know the longer we have to wait for something, the more we appreciate it when that something finally arrives. When the seasons of nature bring extremes, be it freezing cold or steaming hot, we often find ourselves impatient for the phase we’re in to end. Remember, it always will, just give it time.
Now try something a little different. This time when you close your eyes, let your imagination run wild. What new memories do you want to create in your next seasons? Try to let yourself feel those new experiences. Do you want to travel somewhere new? Picture yourself there. Imagine what the new foods taste like that you will try or what you will hear when you visit your destination. Will you hear the sounds of nature or the cacophony of humanity? It all depends on where you want to travel.
Immersing yourself in an experience, even if only in your mind initially, can give you the incentive to take the steps necessary to make that experience a reality.
So now, open your eyes, decide on one thing you can do today to move you towards that new experience you seek in your next season, and make it happen. Book that campsite now, before the best spots are taken. Toss out the chips in your cupboard and go buy some healthier options if you saw a healthier you in your mind’s eye. Whatever it is you want to do next summer, it can all start today.
Do the thing today that will help put you in the experience you want to live out in your next season. Be patient and know you can get there, one step and one day at a time.
Cheering you on, Kim
Lots of quotes pop up when you search “loyalty” on Pinterest. So do many, many pictures of dogs. Of course, dogs are extremely loyal to us humans, whether we deserve their loyalty or not, so the fact dogs can be synonymous with loyalty is no surprise. What did surprise me was the vast range of quotes on the topic of loyalty. They got me thinking. Loyalty can be a wonderful, rare gift to give or to receive. Loyalty can also be a trap if you aren’t careful.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m a huge advocate for loyalty and honesty. I’ve been married to the same man for twenty-eight years and worked for the same company for almost as long. Loyalty is the glue that holds families together. Lose the loyalty and you lose the ties that bind you to those you love.
Where loyalty can be unhealthy is when you hold tight to someone or something that no longer serves you. We all change and evolve. Sometimes we outgrow the company where we used to think we’d work until we retired. Staying somewhere out of a sense of loyalty can lessen your ability to contribute your full value to this amazing world.
Maybe there’s a relationship that no longer warrants your loyalty. If someone doesn’t reciprocate your loyalty, or worse, is dishonest or repeatedly unkind to you, you need to remind yourself it’s alright to walk away. I’m not talking about walking away when someone has a bad day or a tough week. All relationships go through rough patches. Do be cautious around those you’re not sure you can trust when your back is turned. Trust and honesty should be an integral component of where you place your loyalty. If that is lost, it’s very difficult to earn back.
A loyal friend is a priceless gift. No amount of money can buy you one. Guard those rare, deserving relationships with more care than you would the money in your bank account. Those people are critical to the quality of your life. They will be there for you in the dark days. They’ll share in your successes and wipe your tears when you trip and fall.
I’m not sure who first penned the words below, but try to remember them when you feel like you are lacking in some aspect of your life:
If you have a family that loves you, a few good friends,
food on your table and a roof over your head,
you are richer than you think.
Be careful where you chose to place your loyalty, reassess on occasion to be sure you’re still on the right path, and stay true. Earn the loyalty of others and your life will be full beyond measure.
Oh, and please be nice to the dog.
Everything is a choice, make good ones and your life will be richer for it. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!