Saturday, April 15, 2017

Last but not least - day 7 of the gift bag

That's it. I've opened all the presents I was given in my gift bag from the ladies at mums church. It lasted me a week, as intended. Whilst I'm passing on most of the things in the bag, I know just how blessed I am to receive a gift of kindness like this. 
I was thrilled to have read all of this little book already (took me half an hour). It even had a lovely part in the book about Kindness. So I photographed it to share here. 
So cool. It's lovely how this group of women (who gave me the gift bag) unintentionally shared with me something so close to my heart. They shared, showed and expressed Kindness. 

I also took a photo of all then Little bible verses like I promiesed. If you wanted to use them, to make your own gift bag to give to someone, you can. Or you could come up with quotes that inspire you with kindness and generosity. 
I grew up in the Christian church and as I've gotten older I have met a variety of people from so many religions. I have also met many who don't believe in religion or believe in a god either. All these people have so much to offer me in expanding my horizons and I am learning what means the most to me. Kindness in all its forms to all people.

I've come to the conclusion that whilst I am most comfortable in the Christian faith (Specifically the Anglican Church as I grew up in its churches, & I have worked for the Uniting Church, and volunteered for the Salvation Army too), I find that the words of Dalai Lama most profound "my religion is kindness". 
I just wanted you to know that no matter who you are, where you are, what you believe, or who you pray to, that if you act with kindness and show love towards others ... we share the same values. Often this world is filled with separation, dividing us by colour, faith, country, sexuality, ability and so much more. We are all human. We bleed red blood. We have happiness and sorrow in common. We must breathe air and drink water to survive. We must eat to live. In our basic needs we are all the same. 

My want in this world is to make the world a better place. To bring kindness and understanding, hope and compassion to everyone of this earths occupants. I also know I am human. Sometimes I get it wrong, sometimes I judge people without realising, sometimes I fall short of the expectations I place on myself, or expectations others have of me. But I do and will continue to do my best. 

There is a quote I love: "Do the best you can. When you know better, do better" (Anon). That is what I am working on. Doing the best I can. Then doing better. 

Have a lovely weekend. For those when celebrate it... have a happy and safe Easter. For those who celebrate other religious holidays around this time (many of which have already passed)... may you have love in your heart and be shown great kindness by all you meet. 

Love Daena xx

Friday, April 14, 2017

Gift bag for a week

Another awesome gift was opened today. For those who haven't been following my daily unwrapping event, i had better explain what's been happening. Almost a week ago I was given a small gift bag with 7 presents in it. Each one had a day of the week labeled on them with a corresponding bible verse. 

It was given to me by some of the ladies at my mums church who knew I've been having a rough time lately. Which was such a lovely surprise. I was blessed with such a sweet kindness. It did the trick too. It's made me feel loved and supported. The church ladies have been checking in with mum seeing how I'm doing too. 

I got to open wrapper number 6 today. 
It was a spray bottle of moisturiser. I've never seen anything like it before. I am gathering a theme with the people who made the bag for me though. A lot of the toiletries have come from nutrimetics. I must admit I'm not usually a huge fan of their products. However, I feel so blessed to have received these lovely gifts. 
I want the kindness to continue from my little bag. I hope that I can pass this gift on to someone in the homeless community. I hope that someone who is struggling can enjoy this as a treat because they deserve to feel special too. I will give it to one of the shelters because they know who needs some extra TLC or a pick me up better than I do. 

I really love this kind of generosity. I feel so blessed and happy that someone thought I deserved this little bag of goodies. Kindness speaks louder than works. 

Tomorrow I will photograph the whole collection of quotes so you can use the bible verses (or quotes) for your own 7 day bag of kindness. 

I hope this finds you well. 
Love Daena x

The gift of joy

I didn't post yesterday, because I fell asleep instead. I really needed the sleep too so it was a win!!! What I wanted to share was the days 4&5 of the gift bag I got from the church ladies. If you read the last 3 blog posts you will be able to see the progression of receiving kindness. Love it. 

Day 4 was a gorgeous purple wrapped gift. 
It was the gift of perfume. I don't wear perfume so I will pass this on to someone else (or donate to the charity shop). I am blessed to have received a gift though. One that I have happily received, enjoyed opening and can now bless another with its contents. 

Day 5 was sweet too. 
  The little book and soap were very much appreciated. I will probably keep both, unless I see someone else has a need greater than my own, to which I will pass it on. I am so blessed to be given something so thoughtful. Someone  mwanted to make my day/week better and they have done that. 

Tonight I had the privilege of catching up with the lady who organised the gift bag for me. So I was very profuse in my gratitude because I appreciate all the well wishes and kindness behind the gifts. Sure it might not all be bits I'll use, but the thought behind it was wonderful. The love, kindness and consideration that went into a gift like that was very much appreciated. It makes a person feel very special. 

I hope you are all going well. A lot of people are on holidays as of now (Easter weekend here in Perth) so stay safe. Sending lots of love to you all. 
Love Daena x

Ps. I've gotten rid of 4 more items of stuff to go in the opshop donation bin. I didn't photograph them all but I'm pleased to have gotten more stuff out of my life to make more space for the activities and people I love. Xx

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The gift that keeps on giving

 I got a week long bag of small gifts from my mums church group because I've been having a rough time lately. I don't talk about the stuff that's been happening in my life but I was having a really rough time when I last saw the ladies from church. They gave me the gift. I went to church with mum and basically spent the whole time sobbing. 

It happens a lot when I'm in churches. When I was living in the UK and was away from my family I literally sobbed my eyes out any time I went to a church including on Christmas Day. Sometimes it still happens when I'm home in Perth, Australia. It's like I feel safe in church to let myself deal with the Grief, sadness and helplessness I feel in my life. Like the church is a sanctuary for my emotions. 

Needless to say the ladies who saw me last time wanted to be supportive and help me put a spring back in my step. So they gave me a goody bag with 7 gifts, with all kinds of things in it, opening a new gift every day. It's been wonderful. 

I wanted to share what I got today for day three. Why? Because it could give you an awesome idea of what you could do to support a friend, family member, coworker, community member or even a stranger (who could use some support). 

I know a lot of the people who support this blog aren't Christians or even religious, which is great. I am so blessed to be supported by people from all over the world, with varying beliefs, customs and challenges. One thing I think we all share in common is the value of kindness. Love makes the world go round and kindness is the tool that moves earth toward a better future. Or so I like to think. 

The reason I even brought up the differences was because this kindness gift bag idea can be adapted for any reason and for anyone. Use an inspirational quote, a memory, a dad joke, or a kindness challenge instead of a bible verse. Coming from a church group the gifts that I've already photographed (that I'm opening daily) have all got lovely bible verses on them to help me keep my mind and my heart focused on the right now instead of the past or future. 

Anyway, here was today's gift. 
By far this is my favourite. 
 Oh my goodness these socks are by far the softest socks I've ever owned. I can't wait for the super cold weather to give them a go. The strawberry jam looks pretty good. Shame I don't eat bread! 

I posted my 10th postcard to my best friend since she's been in the Eastern States. I shared a while ago that I had found a HUGE stack of unused, unsent postcards I've collected from around the globe. I decided that the way to best remind my best friend I haven't forgotten her (and won't), and to show her a measure of kindness, was to send postcards to her. So I thought I'd show you that in action (I even remembered to take a photo! Wooohooo!). 
I miss my gorgeous best friend every day, coz I can't just go over and hang out, or go to bootcamp with her every week. I miss her but I'm also so glad we have our regular Skype dates and with Facebook, messenger and every other form of communication available... she isn't too far away that I can't see her at all. Thankfully! 

Kindness is simple. It could be sending a letter or postcards in the mail or giving 7 small gifts to be opened every day for a week. It can be smiling at a stranger or saying thank you to people who protect you  like police & security officers, firemen, ambos and so many more. It can cost as little or as much as you like. So long as it comes from love.

Kindness is the gift anyone can give...Please give generously today. 

Love Daena x

Monday, April 10, 2017

Seven Day gift bag: a kindness.

Yesterday I talked about the gift bag I received from my mums church group. It was such a lovely kindness because it gives a recipient something to look forward to daily.   

I opened the second gift today on Day 2. And it was just lovely to receiver two little fancy lip balms. 
Even though I won't be using these I will pass on the kindness by donating these to a homeless shelter. 

I just wanted to share this because I thought it was a lovely idea. You could swap out bible verses for inspirational quotes or words of support and encouragement. It wouldn't even matter what you have someone like this because it makes people feel special to receive it. :) I love that I can pass on the kindness too. 

What brilliant kindness ideas have you seen or heard that you have wanted to do? 

Love Daena 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lent gifting day 40

It's technically the last day of the 40 days of lent (even though technically Lent isn't over yet). And I have decided to give away 2 toys today. These are more pieces of memorabilia than toys though. 
These two toys were gifts to celebrate two of my three graduations. The left Owl was a hand knitted gift from my mum who gave this little cutie to me for graduating high school and the little professionally made koala (wearing Bachelor of Arts colours) was a gift for my undergraduate graduation. When I got my masters I didn't get one of the toysbecuade I didn't fly to the eastern states for my graduation. I did spend my actual graduation day wandering around in the mortarboard (from my first degree) just because I loved it. 

I am sure these toys will do more for someone else than they are doing for me at the moment. Right now they are dust collectors. They look pretty but they don't do anything for me at all. I love seeing my mums skill in the owl but the blanket that I photographed the toys on is one my mum made for me. I also have hundreds of other little bits and pieces that my mum has made, mended or imagined for me. Saying goodbye to these two toys isn't anything that I am sad about. I am pretty happy actually because I know they will make someone else smile. 

I wanted to share something gorgeous with you all too. Today my mum went to church and one of the church ladies (who have known both mum and I for years) gave mum a package to give to me. It's gorgeous. She knew I had been sick lately. The last time she saw me I was sobbing all the way through the church service. It was a bad day for me physically and emotionally. All kinds of bad crap has hit me all at once. So today she sent me a "care package". 
I love this kindness idea. It's basically 7 gifts, something to open every day,  for a week, to make you feel like you are love and appreciated. I wanted to share because it is such a gorgeous idea for any friend, family member or coworker who is sick or going through a hard time. We could all make little bags like this and give our kindness freely. 
The message you attach could be anything you want. Encouraging the receiver. The first parcel I opened, for Day One, today was the red package. 
 It turned out to be a gorgeous Vanilla Bean candle. I love vanilla so it turned out very well indeed. 
I felt really honoured that the little group of people at the church had thought about me enough that they decided to gift me one of these little care packages. It was beautiful. I feel very special. I felt like I had been seen and heard. I feel like I have friends at the church mum goes to because they knew I needed a reason to be happy and then they did something that makes me happy. They shared their kindness and generosity. 

This quote struck me today and I think it sums up this act of kindness perfectly. 
When you act with Kindness you are a HERO to me. ❤️

I hope this finds you all well. 
Love Daena 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lent gifting day 38 & 39

Sometimes we have great plans and sometimes it just doesn't happen. 

I've been working really hard to post daily but it didn't quite go to plan yesterday. Yesterday I took my niece down to the park and when I was there I got the starting of a migraine. My sister thankfully was on her way from work so she was able to swing past and pick us both up and take us home. 

By the time I got home I was nauseous and by the time I had had a chance to fill up my water bottle and make sure I had an ice pack I was vomiting. Great topic of conversation, I know. Hehehe. I then proceeded to sleep from 5pm to 11.30am when I was taken to the doctor and then back to bed until almost 6pm. I had basically spent 24 hours in bed (excluding the time I was at the doctors). 

Needless to say, by this evening I felt much better, although not 100%. But I got sick and tired of being in bed so I got up. I Had dinner with my family, watched some tv (fairly quietly) with the adults in my family and played a game of cards with my brother in law. All with my sun glasses on! 

Even though I was sick I didn't forget I had to do two days worth of blog posts. I'm making it short and sweet today because I need to. 

Yesterday's giving was another toy. 
I've had this "baby" doll for as long as I can remember. But I don't need it anymore and I know there is some little kid out there who will love her like I did when I was younger. So I think she would be in better hands than mine where she can be loved and appreciated. 
Today's act of kindness and gifting is also a toy. A "Big Bang Theory" kitty cat called "soft kitty". When you press its paw it sings the soft kitty song that Sheldon makes Penny sing when he's sick in the TV show "Big Bang Theory". See the clip below. 

I was actually given two of these toys a couple of years ago. My niece loved one so much that she used to use it all the time when I didn't live with her. She would crawl into the guest bed with the Soft Kitty and play it over and over and over and over again. The batteries almost died in it from being played so often. She loved it and it apparently reminded her of me. So when she was feeling bad she would climb into the bed I used and hug my toy. Kind of cute. But since I've been living in the same house she has been hugging me and not the toy so it's time to give it up. 
  I gave one away a few months back. But I thinks it's time I pass this cutie off as well. If my niece got some much out of it when she was younger, someone else will love it too. 

I want to make people's lives better. If by giving away some of my stuff I can do that then I am thrilled to. 

My Lenten gifting is not my only act of kindness in the 40 days of lent (which ends on Palm Sunday) but it is one that I feel comfortable photographing and sharing. Sometimes I do kindnesses anonymously so I can't share them here without giving myself away. Sometimes I do kindnesses that other people know about so I can share them and I do here or on Facebook. Sometimes I don't tell anyone because it's not something that I could share without sharing personal information or share something that isn't mine to tell. Kindness is also shown in my discretion.

But the lent gifting I can share because I is mine. I can show you what I'm giving away because often I don't know who it will end up with. I have no attachment to who gets it or where it goes. It is also something that I am giving up for the benefit of another person, group or community. What better Kindness can I do that giving away something every day in Lent? And tomorrow is the end for this "game". Although technically each Sunday during lent isn't counted so it really ends on the Thursday before Easter. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and the beginning of what the Christian church calls Holy Week. The beginning of all the events that lead up to the crucifixion on Friday and the resurrection on Sunday. 

Even though lent doesn't end until Thursday most people I know give stuff up until Easter Sunday. So it's really a choice to how far you go. I will see how I go tomorrow I may even continue to give things up for charity until Easter Sunday just to push myself. I still have Heaps of stuff in my home that I Could regift. But if you are playing this gifting game too... please feel free to finish whenever you feel you want to. 

Hope this finds you well. 
Love Daena x

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lent gifting day 37

A few days ago I talked about getting some shoes repaired. I wanted to pass them on to the opshop during Lent but I didn't want to give away broken or unsellable things. Today I got them fixed and they will be added to the bag of stuff going to the opshop during lent. 
Those who are long time followers of this blog know that for the last few years I have been doing a thing called "Sustainable September". It's basically a month of environmental kindnesses. Often I feature "repair something" as an idea of what to do on one day. When I went to get the shoes repaired to give away I also took 3 other shoes with me to get repaired. A single Ugg Boot (sheep skin slippers) and a pair of multi-use canvas wedge boots that are basically tall boots that fold down to an ankle boot for a different look. 

I only just noticed the hole on my ugg boots where the top has separated from the sole of the slipper. It turns out that to get it professionally fixed it will cost me about $30 for the single shoe to be fixed (& if I need the other one fixed it could be another $30). A new pair would cost me about $50 (not the best quality but it would be about the same as I have already). Or I can hand stitch it myself because I have a lot of tools to give it a go. 

The second pair are apparently too far gone now to be repaired. Which is heartbreaking. I have been advised by two different cobblers to go to a bootmaker to get them recreated. I think I will do that too. They are the best designed shoes I've ever had. So even though I cannot prolong their life they will be used as a "pattern" to make a new pair of boots for me. So they will be used again. I guess that's something. 

My plan to be as environmentally kind as possible didn't work quite how I had hoped it would. A simple repair from a professional, in this case worked up for about 1 in 3 pairs. I guess I'll just have to stick to repairing stuff ready for donation. Or doing a dodgy repair job myself... for the ugg boots at least. Hehehe. 

For me, repairing things is a kindness to our planet and to those we are repairing them for (in my case it's the opshop). In terms of the nude wedge heels, I had the strap repaired on today, restoring them to their former glory helps them be saleable and raise money for charitable works. I help many charities by using my stuff, my time... not just my money (although I do that too). 

Remember to be kind to the planet, your self and those around you. 

Why is kindness so important? 
Check out this quote and others on my Pinterest Board.
Love to you all, 
Daena x

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lent gifting day 36

It's not long until the forty day Lent challenge will be over and it's getting harder to say goodbye to stuff. 

Like my biggest stuffed toy penguin called Patience.
 Super cuddly, Patience has been with me through some rough times. And I just know how happy she will make some little person who needs support of their own through rough times. A foster care system could be one of those times. This is the penguin for the job. 

I have decided to keep only my three favourite stuffed toys with me. One of whom is "photo bombing" the above picture. My red Welsh dragon who will stay with me still. Dragons are signs of protection in some mythology. Weirdly since I've had the dragon I've slept better. 

I also have two bears: one is big and one is small. The largest toy is called AJ and is the teddy bear from my child hood. That big bear has been with me through it all. That bear has seen more salt water than the Dead Sea, in the form of tears. And also been there through some of the most amazing moments of my life. I feel like we have seen thick and thin together. Or better and worse. Hahaha. 

Then there is my new favourite called Cuddles who has been the bear I've had for the last 10 years. He was given to me by my mum in England when she was leaving me there to do my undergraduate exchange program. Cuddles was there for me when I needed a cuddle from my mum but she was too far away to give me one in person. As such Cuddles has been my "travel bear". He's been around the world with me a couple time now. 

You might think it's weird that a 31 year old woman would want to keep stuffed toys. I am just not ready to let them go to new homes just yet. But the idea of someone loving them as much as I do makes it easier thinking about passing them on. When I get rid of all the toys in the bigger toy collection of which Patience the penguin is a part I will see how I cope without having those cuddly toys for comfort. Then maybe one by one I'll give my favourites to new homes or maybe not. I guess it depends how I cope without them.

When I started my whole dejunking thing I just wanted to pair down what I had, not get rid of everything I own completely. One of the things The Minimalists talk about is that "Minimalism looks different to everyone because everyone is different." I agree. I want to get rid of the superfluous things in my life to focus on the most important things for me. My three favourite soft toys are bringing me joy and providing value to my life, so I will keep them. When they stop doing those things I will give them away. I want to  have time, energy and money to look after and enjoy the things i already have. So that I can enjoy them fully and appreciate them completely. Fingers crossed I'll get the balance of keeping and soccarding. I want to get my head & physical space clear so that I can achieve the things I want to most in my life. Like travelling. There is so much I still want to achieve in my life. I have barely even started! 

What are the things you would do if you didn't have anything to stop you (like money, time, etc). And would you do them today if those barriers didn't exist? If not, why not? 
What would you sacrifice to have those dreams become a reality? Could you give up a coffee out every week to put more money toward a holiday? Could you give up buying any new clothing for a year to lower your debts or save for the things you really love? Could you sacrifice Netflix or cable tv if it meant that that money and time could go to doing something else you wanted to do? 

I hope I've given something to you to think about. Rmemever to be kind to one other. 

Love Daena x

Lent gifting day 35

Today I say farewell to one of my stuffed penguins. 
His name is Walter and he is an adorable cuddly penguin looking for a new home. He is about 7 years old and loves children and cuddles. He spent some time living in a box under the owners bed so needs some love. Owner currently looking to give Walter a new home, possibly to someone young of heart who would appreciate lots of cuddles. Sleeps anywhere. Also he is a stuffed toy crossed with Fun Fur. 

Okay... so maybe I've been reading the pet havens pet listings a little too much. I was at a pet food store, getting supplies for the chickens we own, when I saw a pin board full of pets needing new homes. It's so hard to read those adorable adoption guides and not take home every animal on there. I saw one for a golden retriever who had failed guide dog school but he was still super happy. Such an adorable dog. 

I would love to have a dog...or cat! Looking at these Pound adoption listings is hard to walk away from but I had to. The problem is that my sister and nephew are allergic to dogs and cats. We currently all live together. One day I'll give that idea of kindness a go: Adopt a cat or dog. It's not something that I would go into lightly though. A pet is a lifetime responsibility. One day of kindness is actually the life of the animal. 

I'm not adopting a pet now so I've settled for looking after our obscure company of pets; fish, two guinea pigs and 10 chickens (3 of which are only 4 weeks old). I have grown most fond of the chickens. They have grown fold of me too. One of the newest hatchlings even decided to use me as a perch. 
She is the biggest of the three. The small one sitting beside me was just named Frodo. We think he's a boy. But he is a breed who has fluffy feet (like the Hobbits from JRR Tolkiens middle earth), eats every 5 minutes (breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea, supper, dinner, after dinner snack - like hobits too) and wanders off on his own a lot. Frodo seems an apt name for him. The smallest of the chicks (not pictured here) is possibly the most beautiful fluffy footed fluff ball and has been nicknamed "Princess". The one on my shoulder is still looking for a name. I'm sure it will come to us soon enough. She has a way about her and seems to love cuddles and patting unlike most of the other chickens. 

I love having animals around. They have a way of reminding me to take time to sit and just watch them and enjoy living in the moment. They are almost like a mindfulness practice. Like a meditation of sorts. It helps me get my head together just being around them. 

Then they provide me with a lot of laughs too. 

I've been told I need to reduce my stress. Meditation is something I've been using for well over a year to help me reduce my stress levels. And there are so many ways a person can meditate and that, I love. Including watching chickens scratch in the garden. 

I currently use an app to help me with guided meditations. An app called "insight timer" helps me every day to be more mindful, more focused and lastly to help me sleep. You could use a range of apps if you want. I have heard of both "Headspace" and "10% Happier" app. Not sure what they are like personally but I've heard lots of good things. But I'm sure there are millions of apps, YouTube videos and iTunes/CD or DVD meditations. It had really helped me. 

 Did you know there is a type of meditation called "Yoga Nidra" that is basically meditation to help you sleep. I think technically it's supposed to have your body sleep with your mind still kind of present but it puts me to sleep every time. For an insomniac this is bloody brilliant!! 

There are meditations that help me manage my pain. Meditations that help me be more grateful. Meditations that help me send more "kindness" out into the world. Meditation helps me remember what is most important to me in my life and focus on that. There are so many types of meditation that you can find one that works for you. It's not all "let your mind go empty and think of nothing for ages" whilst sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. I am so glad because I couldn't do that even if I wanted to. Hehehe. 

I don't know how I went from talking about a fluffy penguin toy to talking about animals and then to talk about meditation. It's kind of how my weirdly beautiful mind works. Hopefully you can follow it. Hehehe. 

Walter the penguin will be finding a new home with the foster care kids. Hopefully this little guy can let a kid know they are not alone. 

That's enough for me. I hope this finds you all well. 😘❤
Love Daena x

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lent gifting day 34

Karate was a passion of mine for a long time. Many of you won't know the I trained for 21 years, in Renshinkai, finally gaining my 4th Dan (4th level black belt) several years ago now. I trained at least twice a week for most of that time. I loved & hated it. I loved my karate family. The people I trained with for that time are still people I cherish even though we don't see each other much anymore. I loved the energy I had, the power, the strength. I hated the muscle pain and most importantly I hated giving it up. 

Because I have Endometriosis I had to give up my training & teaching because I was so fragile. One accidental punch or poorly placed kick and I could have ended up in the emergency room (assuming someone could have gotten me out of the foetal position). I got to the point where I couldn't stand up let alone run and fight. The fragility is what I really hated most. 

I miss training. When I get my health back I hope to go back to Karate. 

In the meantime I am getting rid of a small "graduation" gift mum hand knitted me when I went for my 3rd Dan Black Belt and of course survived and earned the belt! 
Part of the reason I am passing on this little guy is because he will fit in a shoebox (for the Christmas Shoebox appeal) but also he's a painful reminder of what I'm missing. He's been stuffed in the back of the cupboard for the last 4 years. Weirdly I don't have the same sadness when I look at my Gi (aka. Karate suit) or my black belt (with its 4 red stripes). I don't get that sadness when I look at my karate certificates or even my karate licence and grading book (I still have these things in the hope I can return to the sport in the future).

I love karate and I enjoyed doing it for so long. 

People assume that Karate is very violent and sometimes it can be (if you aren't trained well or are training for something else like MMA). I must admit I have broken a few bones from Karate but I've broken 4x as many from other activities like tripping over at school or falling out of a boat. What I did learn from Karate is confidence, respect (for myself and others), strength (physically and mentally), and discipline. All of things have helped shape me into the person I am today. 

What sport, hobby or activity have you given up? Or have you had to give up for whatever reason? Would you go back if you got the choice? 

Much love, 
Daena x

Lent gifting day 33

I don't know about you but Lent is flowing FAST!!! I feel like I'm only just getting the show on the road and it's almost over. Woweee. They say time flies when you are having fun! 

I'm sticking with the soft toys for now because I have so many of them. 
This little guy will be small enough to fit inside a shoebox. So I'll vacuum him thoroughly and then give him to a friend who collects small toys (in very good condition) and donates them in shoe boxes to kids in 3rd world countries around Christmas time. 

He was a free promotional Teddybear for a company that has since gone bust so there is no reason for me to keep it. It might bring joy and love to the life of a young person. I had a collection of soft toys that I've loved over the years so I know what one soft toy can do for the life of a child. 

So thank you to the teddy bears and fluffy penguins who I have loved over the years (I collected penguins in my younger life). Thank you for the kindness you have bestowed on me: Being there to cuddle when I was afraid of the dark or when I was scared; reminding me I am loved and am capable of love; letting me dress you up in stupid clothes; forcing you to drink/wear "tea" which may have in fact been toilet water; being there to hold when I cried. See, to a kid these seemingly inanimate objects come alive and support our younger selves in the darkest days. 

I am reminded of Toy Story 3 where Andy is able to pass his old toys onto a new generation of toy lovers. The toys are happy and Andy is happy because his toys are being loved by someone else who loves them just as much as he once did. 

Sending big fluffy cuddly hugs to all those who need it at the moment in honour of all the stuffed toys we have loved over the years. 

Love Daena 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lent gifting day 32

The kids went to a scouting camp for the weekend. When we popped in to drop off some supplies this afternoon I had a moment to take a stunning photo and reflect on just how beautiful the country I live in ,and call home, is. So I thought I would share the view of my sunset with you.
This photo is to remind you to take some time to breathe deep today and take a moment to admire something beautiful in your life. Like this sunset. 

Apart from dealing with kids, chaos and scouting, Today I helped my sister sort out her and the families collection of books. I didn't take photos but let's just say we have a LOT as a house hold. I helped my sister  go through and donate about 200 books today to the opshop and about 40 cardboard toddler books to the local Cafe owner who has a 2 year old (kindness all around). So it was a super successful day in that regards. 

Today I decided that it's time to let go of some stuffed toys. The first one that I will say goodbye to is a stuffed Mr Potato Head toy that my sister and I won when we were in Los Angeles in 1999. So it's been loved & admired. 
It's still got its tag as though it is brand new. Now this soft toy won't go to the opshop like a lot of my other donations. I'm going to vacuum Mr Potato Head thoroughly and then donate him to foster kids. Mum, who works as the CWA community coordinator often sends stuff to the foster kids both here, in Perth, and further around the state. It's awesome. They are often looking for good quality new and very lightly used soft toys. So Mr Potato Head will go down nicely there. 

Any small toys I find in my collection (that will fit in a shoebox) in the next few days I will be donating to Operation Christmas Child. A friend of the family helps put together these shoeboxes, for kids around the world, that might otherwise receive nothing. 

There are so many places other than just an opshop that can take soft toys to brighten up a child's day anywhere they are. 

I hope this finds you well. 
Love Daena 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Lent gifting day 31

Today I'm donating a book. 
A tiny book but a book nonetheless. It took me an hour to read so I recorded it on Litsy. I have a Litsy account which is basically an online booklist crossed with twitter. I wanted to record the books I've read and to create a wish list of books to read in the future. So many books to read. 

I wrote a short review so I'd remember what it was about. So now I can pass the book on. Books are something that give wisdom, transport you to other worlds, open your mind & can bring hope. So giving them to other people is really good.  Or at least it is in my opinion. 

I hope this finds you well & with lots of books to read! 
Much love, 

Ps. What is your favourite book of all time? And do you have any to recommend here? X

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lent gifting day 30

10 days to go until this lent gifting game is over. Which also means that there are only 10 days until Easter. What are you doing this Easter? How do you celebrate this season (or this set of holidays) if you don't celebrate Easter? 

I'm still not 100% sure what to do this year for Easter apart from make things or gift experiences. Or I could buy and or make food. My family loves food. Plus they all usually appreciate my cooking. So if I find something they like surely I can make it and give it as a gift to my family and friends and they will appreciate it. Fingers crossed. If you have any ideas... please pass them this way. 

Today's kindness for the lent gifting is actually more than one thing but I'm calling it one because it's part of a set. 
DVDs. More specifically Seasons 2-5 of Angel (the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spinoff). I was kind of obsessed with this show when I was younger. I wrote one of my first fan fictions about characters from the first season of Angel (& I also wrote about the TV show "The Pretender" too) but that was a long long time ago. Needless to say these have been a part of my writing history. I love to write fiction stories, novels (all unpublished), romance novels and occasionally I write fanfics just to help me get over or to explain certain things in shows I love. And also... blog posts, essays & research notes. It's not all good writing. However I keep learning and growing as a writer. 
Hopefully my writing is getting better to you, my faithful reader, too! 

You might wonder why I am getting rid of a show I loved?! I realised that even if I don't have these DVDs I'm not going to forget how my teenage brain was obsessed with its shows characters. Or that I would eagerly wait for it to show on TV every week. Or how bad my writing was when I reread my fan fiction YEARS later, and it was bad. Hehehehe. I'm not afraid to admit it. I've still got so much to learn. But I've definitely improved since then. What I loved about the show was there were so many possibilities that made writing easy. Anything is possible in a world where demons & vampires exist. I have always been interested in ancient mythology so writing about demons and vampires wasn't really much of a step up or down from those ideas. 

Mind you demons are a fair way away from writing about kindness. Yet I am still passionate about writing and kindness. 

I'm most comfortable giving these away in the knowledge that I don't need them to be creative. I don't NEED these DVDs to write fun, scary, romantic stories. In fact by giving them away I'm opening up space in my room to be more creative. To have space to store my art supplies or my story journals (there are lots of these). I'll get around to finishing or rewriting the most interesting stories from the journals at some point. In the meantime I'll just keep writing. I'll write about thing that mean a lot to me like Kindness & being compassionate to one another on this big diverse world of ours. 
 I'm sure I've used this graphic from Pinterest before. I do love it though. I carry it with me always. 

Love Daena xx

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Lent gifting day 29

What skills do you have that you could use to help someone else? What talents do you have that you could use as a kind act for another? I am askin because today I realised that I've been doing some kindnesses for a while for my friends or family members. 

I have completed two degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate) and I'm currently working on a new one. In that time I've had to read hundreds of my own assignments, essays, talks, tutorial notes and referenced millions of books. 

This week my nephew, who is in year 8 (his second year of high school) has been writing a report on Tsunamis, particularly the one that hit Japan in 2011 and sent a nuclear power reactor into meltdown. Fascinating stuff! He writes a great report. 

The kindnesses I have done for him (& a lot of others) is proof reading and editing. When I was doing my undergraduate study in the U.K. I often helped my international ESL (English as a Second Language) friends who needed me to just make sure it was properly... English. 

My nephew on the other hand, whose only language is English, has dyslexia. I proof read and highlight what needs to be changed and then talk him through it. This means his assignments are better to read, have less errors (I'm sure I'm not 100% fool proof), and it gives him more confidence knowing that it's readable and makes sense. 

But doing the proofreading got me thinking how easy kindness is. I just used a skill I've honed in my academic life to help my nephew who is just really starting his academic journey. He wants to go to uni already. He has plans. 

I realised that this is in fact a kindness. Using my skills and helping someone else. It's what I do because I care for my friends and family. I want to see them succeed. I also know what I did to help many others could do too. Maybe you have skills in finance? or putting in a tax return? or using computer programs? Or hair dressing? Or dress making? Or baking? Each one of us has the most amazing and diverse set of skills that if we use to perform acts of kindness we can really change the world. 

I know we are on day 29 of the 40 days of lent challenge. What I wanted to share is how you can use what you already have to make a difference. Like your stuff. I also think talents and skills are just as important to give freely. Mind you I have a lot of stuff that I will happily pass on to the needy. So here is where I share the next thing I've given away. A bonds sports bra.  
It is usually "in bad taste" to show ones "smells" in public. But this is a fairly new purchase of mine that I'm passing on already. It's only a few months old but it doesn't fit and I feel not like myself wearing it. So it needs to go to a better home. So in the opshop bag it goes. 

Well that's all from me today. I hope you are well. What skills, talents and resources do you use to make a difference? What do you do to act kindly towards others? Yourself? The environment? I'm not just asking because I'm I'm curious... I would love more ideas people!!!! 😁😁😁

Much love to you all, 
❤ Daena 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lent gifting day 28

Recently I talked about giving clothes to friends in a kind of clothing network. My gifting today is 3 pairs of jeans that I'll pass on to a friend (black, navy and purple). If she doesn't want them then she passes them onto people she knows needs them and so on and so forth. I'm so glad I can pass these on to a friend who will use them (or pass them on). They are good quality. and they will last a long time too. I don't need 4 pairs of jeans. 3 of the jeans of which are too small for me (just) so are never very comfortable to wear. Hence they are today's gifts. 
I'm slowly pairing down my wardrobe to be more of a capsule wardrobe. I've been following capsule wardrobes for a while on Pinterest mainly for travel. Or at least how my love of capsule wardrobes started because I only wanted to take a carry on suitcase around the world when I went (if you want to check the carry on travel wardrobes check my Pinterest board here). 

I'm falling in love with the idea of owning less clothes to take the problem of choosing out of my mornings. There is a project called 333. It's 33 clothes pieces for 3 months including shoes and accessories. It's a fantastic challenge. One I might have to give a go in coming months. If you want to see some capsule wardrobes check it my Capsule Wardrobe Pinterest  board. 

I hope this finds you all well. 
Love Daena 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lent gifting day 27

Wow...27 days in and I almost can't believe how much stuff is going out of our house. There are 3 HUGE garbage bags in the hallway ready to go plus a few smaller bags to go to different friends and family members. We still have 13 days to go until Easter Sunday, which will mark the end of Lent and the end of this gifting kindness project. The hard bit is realising you can barely tell where I've been... mum at least has half a book case empty, which makes her gifting noticeable. I still have so much stuff! Maybe the next 13 days I can give more?! 

Today I went through my gift box and found a bunch of towels. Yes, towels. I thought I would get them embroidered and then gift them for wedding gifts or for housewarming parties but something always came along that fitted the people more. So I decided that the towels would be better used by a homeless shelter. 
So that's what I'm going to do. I've got them wrapped in a bag to take to one of the shelters or refuges that we visit in the next few weeks. Whoever wants them can have them. And usually they are in high demand. I may even buy some body wash, shampoo and conditioner and some combs or something to help the staff at some of these places make hygiene packs. CWA makes these up. Only last week I helped mum, as the CWA community coordinator, make up about 100 of these hygiene packs for donations to charity 

The lent gifts today are two black bath sheets, a black hand towel and a flannel, plus a cream coloured towel too. I'm calling this a single donation because it's going to one place (& really I need to give more of my stuff away if I ever plan to move). I bet you wouldn't believe how much space I now have in my Present box now that I've gotten rid of these out of it?! So much space!!! Soon I may even be able to repurpose the box to something more useful. 

Today also marks 3 years since my mum had both of her breasts removed because of cancer (it's called a double mastectomy). She is not over the long term affects and problems of having the surgery (& never will be over some things). But it's been 3 years since she got the cancer removed from her body. 3 years without cancer is a win! I am so proud of her. We are all celebrating life today! She has done so much & achieved so much in those 3 years since she had her surgery. None of us will be the same again. I like to think it's just made each one of us stronger. And I'm so grateful I still have my mum around to hug, talk to and just be around. She's awesome. I know... I am biased! 😁

Alright that's enough for me. What kindnesses have you been doing? What's the greatest kindness someone has done for you? 

Love Daena x

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lent gifting day 26

 Sometimes the hardest things to let go of are the free things. Saying no to free things when you don't want them or need them can seem hard particularly when you think you "might" use them in the future. 

My family and some awesome friends have a system of distribution for getting rid of clothes. People pass things on to me to check out if I want it, then I pass those things on to other people. Sometimes they end up at the op-shop but more often than not they end up with friends of mine who are financially struggling which makes a difference to us all. 

Today's kindness is a dress that came through this system of passing along clothes. Something that I essentially got for free. 
I saw this dress and when I put it on I thought it was pretty good so kept it. It's been sitting in my cupboard for 2 months and I haven't even looked at it. I had face the fact that it was a great dress in theory but in practice I have other clothes I prefer. So I'm passing this one along to my little network of people who need clothes. So although this one is part of this lent "gifting" it won't be going to a charity but to a friend. 

On a different note, there is something wonderful about knowing that your family do kindnesses in their own ways. My nephew makes cups of tea for my mum (it's a real winner). My Brother-in-law volunteers time with scouts and donates blood (here in Australia it's a charitable donation you can't earn money from blood donations). My niece helps her friends in class by getting their chairs out for them. My sister volunteers her time as a Joey Scout leader even though she no longer has a joey scout in the house. My mum donates her time and effort to working as the CWA community coordinator. And well... then there is me. 

I often help mum in her role take deliveries of hand made & new purchased items to hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, refuges, charities and to school chaplains. I am always amazed at the generosity of my fellow CWA ladies. It is always a profound privilege giving these things over to those need them. I get to play Kindness fairy and represent the women who did all the hard work at the same time. It's a lot of fun too!!! 

I'm so proud of my family who do their own acts of kindness. They give their time, money and energy to help other people. 

Have you noticed anyone in YOUR family, or close friends group, who is doing kindnesses? What are you most proud of them for? 

Much love to you all, 
Daena xxx

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lent gifting day 25

Tonight was Earth Hour. One hour without electricity to show your solidarity with the earth. I've done it most years. 
 It's always fun playing cards in the dark with my family. Kindness for the environment tonight. Another kindness to tick off the list! 

Today's donation to charity is this waistcoat that I bought in England for a pirate party all those years ago (almost 10). I've used it for all kinds of things over the years. Usually to dress up as a pirate repeatedly after all It's an easy fall back costume. I do dress up a lot because I enjoy dressing up. 
It might also work for a hobbit costume too but sadly it's not what I want to keep anymore. It's never fit me properly. I bought it second hand (for about £2) and cut holes in the opposite side of the button holes, thread ribbon through it for a Halloween costume 10 years ago when I was living in Hull, Yorkshire, England, UK. As an international student studying at the university I had lots of fun adventures. Halloween was one of them. But shopping cheap was a necessity. At that time the British Pound was about 3-1. $3AUD for £1 British Pound. So it was quite painfully expensive to live there at the time. I did have a wonderful time though. 

The waistcoat has great memories but I don't want to keep it just because it has memories. I have lots of photos and other bits and pieces that I love much more than this one item of clothing. So I'm pleased to pass it on to someone else who can enjoy it as much as I did. Maybe they will be a pirate or a hobbit. Or maybe they will be a milkmaid or a streampunker. Anyway it is used it will be worth it. It has lots of life left in it. 

Hope you are well. 
Love Daena 

Lent gifting day 24

I drew graphs at the beginning of the month to get the kids in the family excited about colouring in and donating stuff to charity. 

Well I've helped mum go through her book case. She got rid of over 50 books in one sitting. All of which have already been donated to charity. She is so fast. And the coolest thing is the first graph that I posted she wasn't even assigned a colour yet. Now she's blue and her column is full!!! Go mum!!! So proud. 

The left side was a few weeks ago and the right side is the most recent. Pretty cool huh?! 

My niece and nephew are currently neck and neck on the donating schedule. They are seeing it as a donating competition between the two which is kind of amusing since my niece wasn't very keen in the first place. Hehehe. 

So today's gifts are two fold, or two blown, depending how you look at it. Hahaha. 
In my "gift box" I had two blow up beach bits: A ball and a swim ring. Sadly there aren't very many occasions when you can give these as gifts. So donating them still in their packets is a nice way to get them out of my life and into someone else's. Someone who has a pool and who can use these more than I ever would have. 

I'm doing my best to donate things that are good quality and could be resaleable. Like the two blow up toys above. This week I'm getting a few things mended to then donate them to an opshop. 

I have a pair of shoes with a broken strap that just pulled out from the sole. These shoes broke once before (the other shoe) so i know it will only cost me about $10AUD to fix. Considering they were shoes I bought in England and are pretty good quality (apart from the said "breaks") I want to be able to pass them on again. I also want to keep them out of landfill. The reason I'm getting rid of them is that the heel on these shoes are just too tall for me. They would be perfect for other people who aren't afraid they will fall over and break something- like I am. So to the opshop they will go when they get fixed. I'll show them when they at finally fixed!

Okay well... that's me for the day. And in the words from off my Kindness Pinterest Board picture... 
Much love to you all. 
Love Daena x