The Advent of Opportunity: Three Good Things

What’s your favourite bit about Advent?

For some it’s the decorations – gold and green and red sparkling everything; with fairy lights and dark nights and setting your world a-glimmer with beauty and wonder.

For some it’s the tastes and smells – chocolate and peppermint and mulled wine and mince pies; a warm world redolent with spice and indulgence.

For some it’s the weather – being able to snuggle up indoors and know that the weather outside is frightful but they don’t have to go out in it.

For others it’s the people – the family and friends whose forms we get to hug and hold close; whose faces light up with joy at seeing us, and whose eyes sparkle with the fun and excitement of the festive season.

For a few, it’s even the incessant Christmas music!

Christmas Tree Me

For me, it’s the anticipation – the build-up, where everything is still in ‘preparation mode’. Pintrest fills with recipes to tempt and tantalise, crafts to do and make (and cause you wonder if your skills are sufficient to manage *any* of them). Shops fill their shelves to bursting with gifts, and the media overloads us with reminders to make sure that we don’t miss anyone important from our list. Carols are sung about the baby in the manger, and children squeal with excitement about Santa Claus and elves and magic. We stock our fridges and freezers and cupboards and pantries with all manner of good things to eat and share with the people who pop round. We exude hospitality and bonhomie (and perhaps a little seasonal stress). And there will be PRESENTS!

That’s the big draw, isn’t it? The thing which (whatever the ‘roots’ of Christmas, and which tradition borrowed from which other) engages us all – it’s a festival where we get stuff.

We get presents. We get to over-eat. We get to see and spend time with the people we love. We get a day off work. We get to enjoy ourselves, guilt-free and with no strings attached, because CHRISTMAS, yo!

And why not? All of those things are good, and we’re made to find pleasure in these them – they trigger all the ‘happy’ parts of our brains and bodies for a reason. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I want us all to be able to enjoy the season to the very limits of our happiness. I want our cups to run over at the edges with joy and wonder and love.

But that’s not the whole story (and I’m fairly confident that if you’re reading this blog, you’re someone who would not only agree wholeheartedly, but who would also fully expect the very important Other Side to be given a fair say. And who would (I hope) be quick to step in and redress the balance if I skipped over it), because yes – it’s the season of abundance and indulgence, but it’s also about giving and altruism and taking care of one another.

I suspect that you already do something for others – the kind of people who rock up here and engage tend to be the type to want the world to be a better place, and who aren’t afraid to pitch in to make that happen – which is quite wonderful, and I’m thrilled at how many like-minded people I’ve been able to meet in this here Blogosphere.

But for Advent, I want to encourage you to be a bit more intentional. I plan to be, and I want you to help by holding me accountable. I want us to work together to make a difference.

If I stop and think about the troubles of my own life, I falter and start to see cracks at the edges. If I stop to think about the troubles my friends and family are enduring, I feel as though I’m going to be overwhelmed. If I stop to think about the troubles of all the people in all the world, I sometimes wonder how I make it out of bed in the morning, and how I have the audacity to even think that the challenges are surmountable.

If I stop and think, I find myself crippled.

I need to think less, and DO more.

Because if I DO more, then I can ask you to get alongside me, and DO something yourself. If you DO something, then other people will notice, and they might be inspired, and you can explain the reasons and encourage them to join in. If *they* DO something, then you and I together have started a chain of events in which at least Three Good Things will have been done, and that’s a START.

Do Three Good ThingsI don’t mind what you do, and I’m not advocating bragginess or self-promotion with this thing – it’s about making the world a better place, not making ourselves look good (I’m pretty sure that if you ask one of your friends, they’ll tell you you’re already fine as you are – I know for a fact that pseudo-saintliness doesn’t fit me in any guise) – but I genuinely think that together we can quietly go about our lives and make definite, tangible differences.

I’ve seen the power of the Blogosphere before, and it has stunned and humbled me – we truly ARE stronger together. I’ve seen campaigns succeed, people’s lives rescued, shattered situations rallied around and put back together, all through the connectedness of the internet and the willingness of people at the other end of the screen to stand up and DO something.

I want us to turn it around – I want the power to go OUT of the Blogosphere and INTO our towns; our communities; our homes, and make a difference there.

I’ll DO, You’ll DO, and They’ll DO.

Three Good Things. That’s all.

WE CAN DO IT!

 

 

#Do3GoodThings

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46 thoughts on “The Advent of Opportunity: Three Good Things

  1. I love this idea of being intentional! Count me in. My four for this week: 1. made cookies for a friend who is having a real hard time (half-moons and whoopee pies, not store bought) 2. went through any toy that Bridget has been given and never opened and passed it on to a shelter 3. As part of our Respect for Human Differences committee I helped create an elementary school-wide collection of supplies for our troops and their pets for Christmas 4. got donations of newborn supplies from our community for a new mother in urgent need.

    Okay that sounds like a braggart and not at all what you were intending. But it matters, don’t you think, that people SEE what you are doing so they can pass it on or incorporate it in their own lives?

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  2. See, I don’t just love you for your prose. You are always trying to be better and more importantly do better. And I agree, I need to think less and do more. I’m not sure what my three things will be. Not yet. But I’ll think on it and come up with something. (And I’m working on a letter for you. I want to be able to send it with a Christmas card πŸ™‚ )

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    • Gretchen, you just made my morning. I’ve been having a tough one so far…since about the middle of yesterday night, til now (breakfast time) several ‘online’ things have happened which have just sucked SO MUCH and I’m so angry and upset about them. The idea that you’re writing to me For Real has just sent a sliver of sunlight into my storming soul. THANK YOU.

      And…in the interests of transparency, I’m not sending Christmas cards this year, but I WILL write back to you. Perhaps I’ll send New Year cards πŸ™‚

      And thank you – I’m glad you like this idea. I *need* to try to be better and do better…then I can convince myself I’m an acceptable human being, yaknow? I look around me and SO much badness happens, which I could maybe help with, and I don’t, and that eats away at me.

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      • I woke up this morning to your comment and it made me feel so incredibly good that I gave your dark morning a little lift. Though the idea of BAD things happening online is distressing. This is supposed to be a happy place for us and I get so ‘effin pissed when someone uses it for evil. (I have no idea what those bad things were, but I can imagine) I’m feeling the need to find the light in the middle of darkness and I’ve been racking my brain for a really positive uplifting piece to write that would help me focus more on the positive in all that goes on in this world. Cause you’re right, there’s so much badness and sadness and it’s so overwhelming some times.

        I know I fall short and don’t do enough. I know I’m selfish at times and completely focused on the wrong things. We all do it. We’re all assholes in our own little ways. But the difference with you (and me) and so many of our friends on here is that we are trying to do right things and do more good. It’s one of my favorite unexpected things about this little world of blogging. I have found so many compassionate and smart and well intentioned people here. And you, you seem to attract them in droves. That says a lot about your spirit and what you put out there. (and hey, if you ever need to talk or need an ear or whatever, please reach out, okay? Hugs to you my friend).

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        • Thank you so much – I will definitely bear you in mind, though I don’t want to just jump on you with a load of negativity and leave! That would be mean. We might have to just…chat a bit first. (hey, does that mean that we get to be ‘chatting friends’ on FB?! *excited*)

          The internet wasn’t used for evil, not this time, but I just heard from several different people about some really shitty things which have happened in their lives over the last 24 hours, and I am BEYOND HUGGING DISTANCE. That sucks. Bigtime. And made me sad and stressed and angry.

          We all fall short – there is always room for improvement, and that’s one of the most wonderful things about it, I think – we are always presented with opportunities to do better. Always. And that’s wonderful.

          I think the TToT has a lot to do with the calibre of people I’ve managed to surround myself with. And I kind of head-hunted a few, as well. But I’m glad they stuck, and thanks for suggesting that might be something good that *I’m* doing πŸ˜€

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  3. What I love about this challenge, which by the way I think is a great reflection of you, Lizzi, is that it forces you (and by you I mean me) to look outward. I think that this week I’ve been completely turned inward and I could feel some of the achievements I’ve made with the way I interact with my husband slip away and it bothered me tremendously. I hope that by taking on this challenge I will help myself shift back to where I was before. Hugs to you, kind friend.

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    • Katia, I suck. I thought to myself only the other day “Oh gosh, I must message Katia and see how she’s doing – we haven’t spoken for ages”, and as happens all too often, life took over or my brain fluttered away elsewhere and I didn’t do it, and here you ARE πŸ™‚ Bless your boots, my dear. I’m glad you popped over. it’s so nice to see you πŸ™‚ Sorry for being so lousy of a friend at keeping up!

      Weeks when we turn inward happen. To me, often, and worse at home than anywhere else – poor Husby bears the brunt, I think. They say familiarity breeds contempt and whilst that may be true, I also think it breeds a bit of apathy – I’m sure if I viewed him with the same altruism-tinted spectacles, I’d be far more attentive. Well, I will try to check in with you soon, and perhaps let you know that you’ve inspired me to be a better wife and make a bit more effort, rather than taking him for granted.

      *HUGS*

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  4. Ok, three things we’ve done this week:
    1. raked more leaves for Mrs. G. (They never end!)
    2. Did not park in the closest parking spot to the store, even though it was really close, so the person who comes in next will be excited to get the good space.
    3. dropped off gifts for the Christmas store. (Catholic Charities sets up a store each year, and shoppers get to walk through and choose gifts for relatives. The shoppers are people who have little to no income, and at the store pay for the gifts based on their income.)

    You are so good at encouraging others to do good.

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    • *grinning*
      1. No WONDER she refers to you all as ‘hers’ πŸ˜€
      2. That’s a really simple, lovely way to be kind. I like it a lot.
      3. I sent an email around to everyone at work to see if they want to bring things for me to collect and take in to the scheme that happens in our city to do the same kind of thing – the one I know makes sure that families have ‘packs’ of gifts for their children, where the kids would otherwise have no presents cos the parents can’t afford them. It’s a Good Thing.

      And…I try. And I try not to be too much of an asshole along the way about it πŸ™‚

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  5. Oooooh!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!!!! As soon as I pick my face off of the ground, I am IN!!! Gosh… I will be praying for where God wants me to do good. I need to stretch outside of my mess and give what I can. In time. Precious time.

    I just love that you are RUNNING with this… Lizzi, you are ARE God’s Hands and Feet!! Keep going love. Carry the torch and continue to make a difference. I’m SO utterly proud of you!! This season is a significant one for your purpose and ultimately HIS.

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    • I think I might have arrived at a bit of a … hmmm… not sure what – point of understanding? Or certainly a point of purpose for now. I think perhaps that I’m meant to love other people and care for them. Adunno. That could be it. The idea of that is certainly an exciting one.

      I just hope this is something which inspires and gets things GOING! We’ll see. If even a few people are doing it already, or take it on, then a difference WILL have been made for Good. And that’s awesome πŸ™‚

      Hang on in there, Kitty. You’ll be back up soon. ❀

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  6. I’m so with you! Tucker’s been saying nonstop “I want that for Christmas!” so I told him that some kids have zero toys. This week, we have already
    1. mailed two huge boxes of gently used toys to T’s new cousin
    2. scheduled a donation pickup for Friday
    3. have a box of new toys for a shelter
    4. have two HUGE new boxes of diapers and a car seat for a place that helps new moms who don’t have much
    On a roll right? And I’m gonna keep doing it all month because yes – it’s time to give. To remember we’re all in this together. πŸ™‚

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    • We are, most definitely, all in this together. And I love that you’re making Tucker aware of that, and that he’s joining in with helping, and seeing you role-model to him. FABULOUS πŸ˜€ Love it.

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    • I am a firm believer that the Blogosphere can make a HUGE difference to the world, if only we all work at it together. DEFINITELY. We’re all able, we’re all (mostly) willing…I know that for me, it’s often more about needing a kick up the butt to get going.

      I hope this goes really well for your family, and thanks for taking it on πŸ™‚

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  7. OH I love this! I do try to do some good things, but life does always get in the way! At THIS time of year I like to focus on the local FOOD pantry, coats/hats/gloves,etc. to keep people WARM and any of the local “Letters to Santa” type charities, where you pick letters from a family in need, they tell you what they need and you buy them some things. All anonymously. I also look for links to easy (why not?) things like ordering from certain places on certain days go to a certain charity. This is such a great idea, Lizzi! I DO get caught up in the holiday stress, I almost always do!

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    • I think holiday stress is absolutely inevitable, and in a way it’s part of the fun (no, really) because you get to sit down on Christmas day and it’s FINISHED.

      You do so much, Joy, and I love that you do. It really does delight my soul that you have such a heart for other people, and that you DO a lot for them, as much and as often as you can.

      And those ways of DOING are brilliant πŸ˜€

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  8. We’re in. Just this morning we turned in our baby bottles full of change for the local mothers’ shelter that collected. They distribute empty bottles, people fill them with spare change, then return. And we’ve had Kidzilla to the home that it sponsors – good for her to see that not all moms and babies have it so well as we do.

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    • That’s such a great initiative. And so simple, too! I’m really pleased that you were able to take Zilla to see the home and make the link in her mind between the things she did to help, and the effects of her efforts of behalf of others.

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      • Growing up we always knew there were others who did not have the blessings we did – even if we might have thought we had little. I want my Daughter to be aware of those in need. She’s pretty perceptive already and I hope she stays that way.

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