‘Just’ A Branch

:: to bend ::

'to bend' © Christy Hydeck

 That photo there? I have a particular affection for it, and others like it.

“But Chrysti, it is just a branch.”

Is it odd that I don’t see just a branch’?

I see a resting place for a weary bird whose travels took him a bit too far.

I see a spring nest emerging ; cleverly crafted with the finest materials nature has to offer.. all for the sole purpose of birthing and sheltering their beautiful young and blessing us with the sweet sounds of their song.

I see the glorious shapes and patterns that Mother Nature provides us; neverending  inspiration for our art.

I see eventual spring blossoms coming forth… that not only honor a new season but show us true, raw beauty and gently remind us how life continually renews itself.

I see a color palette for a future painting in a creative session that provides contentment, relaxation, and inspiration.

I see symbolic reminders whispering to me… for it really is better to bend, than to break.

I see the amazing patterns a spider weaves with its web and natures diamonds  that may arise when there is dew.

I see a bounty of fruit growing, providing much needed nourishment for someone, or something in need.

I see the power scarcity and simplicity hold and I am drawn to apply its attributes within my own life.

I see a potential toy for a young puppy whose greatest wish is to play, run and enjoy the fresh air.

I see a young couple in love sharing their first kiss under the shelter the branches provide.

I see children creating their own Terebithias, kingdoms coming alive, imaginations heightened, alternate worlds all just within their grasp.

I see how the branch is indeed stronger intertwined with others, and how frail the lone one is without much support.

I see the stories that branch will hold hundreds of years from now and how I will be just a small part of its memory. I revel that I am a part of all that I have seen, all that i do and THAT is the very thing connecting me to others and the world around me.

I see evening ushering in, the golden, magical hour about to arrive – and all the visual delights that entails. Mothers tucking children into bed, a warm candlelit bath and crisp, freshly cleaned sheets that give slumber.

Life.  It really is all about perspective isn’t it?

What do you see?

Chrysti

Day 18/29 Days of Giving is…

What if I told you …in no, uncertain terms – that you CAN make a difference in the world?

What if i told that you can BE the difference in the world.

What if it starts right here. Right now.

There is no greater gift I can give to each of you than the gift (or reminder) of giving itself.

Let’s face it: we can all stand to be a bit kinder, a bit more generous in our lives. If you ever even get close to a point within your life where you think you have done all you can, or that you have done that proverbial  ‘just enough’ or you have met some sort of imaginary status quo on generosity – then I’m sorry to say that you are sorely mistaken. The day you allow yourself to believe that – is the day you have sadly, given up. It’s the day that you no longer make a positive significant impact in the world.

The world we allfor the recordshare. It’s not just yours. It’s not just mine. It’s ours. We share the same air. We occupy the same spaces. Our money changes hands at every turn.  Whether you are conscious of it or not – we need one another. We depend on one another. To make a living, to raise our children, to care for us as we ail. Every minuscule detail in your life is shared – in some way or another – with another living being. It’s not just some desire, or platitude to live by – it is our duty, not only to ourselves – but to others – as we strive to be gentler. kinder. more generous. There is no downside here folks. There is no ‘perfect’ time that you’ll be in a better position to do so either – that is just an excuse we all use (myself included) … to make ourselves feel better. Ask yourself what it is that you can give.

During this project I have rediscovered the hopeless optimism I once had. Problems that have been thrown at me through the course of this have seemed far more minimal than before.  I am thinking positively as a whole again, and feeling that same vibe thrown back at me. Kindness breeds kindness, and when you really, and I mean really… open your eyes to it – it’s abso-friggin-lutly-amazing. I’m glad I stopped making excuses and just started … well, doing. 

With every new dawn, I ask myself what more can I do to make an impact in our world. I’m not looking to cure cancer, but if one little smile can make a child whose crying stop, and the stressed out mother with her baby feels a bit lighter…perhaps she’ll open the door to the store for an elderly woman who could have been injured trying to, and maybe she in turn gives a coupon she can’t use to a single father who was recently laid off from work and couldn’t afford the meal otherwise, perhaps he may now offer some of his time or skills to a neighbor who needed a repair to their steps done, not only saving them from a lawsuit of an injured guest but sparking them to give of their time to yet someone else… who knows JUST how far that one, tiny smile could reach.

I’m not asking you to give up your house, starve yourself, or strive to be perfect. I’m asking you merely to think a bit outside of the box. Redefine your definition of generosity. Give with intent – not just in passing.Each day, give a bit more. Nurture yourself, your loved ones – and yes, even strangers. I’m not saying anything here – you haven’t heard before. I’m just like you. I get stressed. I am selfish some days. Often I have very little free time, and am usually more than overwhelmed and committed.

:: beside me ::

I suppose – my point is simply this: We are not that different you & I. Some have told me how lucky, or fortunate I am to be in a position to do this project. I find myself feeling sorry, and a bit annoyed for whomever states it – as I am not lucky, I am not in some financial position to do this project, I don’t have heaps of free time to offer either. I MADE this happen for myself. I hold myself accountable for it. I create it every day. Luck doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. I chose a way, to fit this back into my life.  Every way I carried this out, was for a specific reason, that suits my life and would essentially wake me up again, and force me to go back to the basics.

There is no magic formula here, none of this is probably news to you and you will probably have a different way that works for you. And ya know what? That’s a-ok.

Journal some ideas for giving, and kindness out. Make up little pay-it-forward stories in your head to start accepting the real value in giving. Skip your Starbucks or some other non-essential for a day, use that money to do something nice for someone else. Find the things in your life you are grateful for. The little things – the crisp air you breathe. The raindrops that look like diamonds on a bare branch. Learn to look at those small facets of life with gratitude, and you’ll find everything else will all slowly, come into place. Forgive yourself, for the days when you’re not as kind or generous as you could have been – they are inevitable. Just…try. Give, with intent.

I know, there are several of you… who dismiss this stuff as a crock of poo. I can honestly promise you – it’s not.  Can’t motivate yourself to do it for the right reasons? Then do it, because more good will come to you as a result. Since life is alllllllll about perspective – surrounding yourself with positivity in the best ways you can – makes life, well … far easier. Yes, easier. Anger, resentment, selfishness etc.. all fuel misery, trample hope, and destroy lives. Let kindness, gratitude, and generosity steer your life. Make it rich with substance, and joy – and if it is already, create more. Create the life you want. The life, you deserve.

Today’s Giveaway? Is the book:  Acts of Kindness: How to Create a Kindness Revolution . The recipient of today’s giveaway can use this to jumpstart, or further along their own kindness journey. It’s my hope, they will then pass it on to someone else as well.

To enter today simply…

  • On this post; in the comments – answer one or more of these questions: Tell me some of your favorite kindness and giving gestures and/or let me know what stops you from doing even more?
  • Do this by: Sunday, January 18th, 2009
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
  •  Enter Day 0 & Day 16 & Day 17 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Go do a lil’ sumthin’ generous now, for someone else.
  • The now-finally-off-my-soapbox ….  Chrysti

    I’m Back & Giveaways shall resume!

    Taken at the Washington National Cathedral while in DC last week.

    Just a quick note to let y’all know I am back from my holiday travels and almost as caught up as I can be. Though, i have yet to unpack!

    Good News! The giveaways shall resume on Sunday!

    Although I had wanted to continue posting while travelling, connectivity wasn’t on my side … and frankly, I still want the giveaway posts to have value, substance… and just all-around-be-straight-from-the-heart. I would have to take the easy way out while gone – and well, anyone who knows me – knows I rarely take the easy route.

    So be sure to keep spreading the word – and to check back Sunday — we have an amazing giveaway that is sure to have y’all ooooh & ahhhhhing.

    Hope 2009 has been off to a fabulous start for each of you!

    Chrysti

    P.S. Want to contribute to the giveaways?Email me (khryctee AT bellsouth.net with the subject ‘I have a giveaway’ .. and a proposal of what you’d like to contribute. Even a mixed lot of supplies is ok — I may create a day where there are 10 winners of 10 different lots. Let me review your proposal, and if I can use it — I’ll get back to you asap. This will be a weekly thing at my blog, extending past the 29 days. How fun!

    Day 6/29 Days of Giving is…

    while I have a looooong list of potential giveaway items for you…

    …each day i am choosing whatever seems to suits my mood

    or I feel somehow inspired to talk about on that particular day…

    … yet, all day I have been fighting with the annoying gods of indecision

    which probably has more to do with the fact that I want to be in my studio

    creating one pretty lil mess after another

    i’m also exhausted….

    …and that big cozy chair I showed you yesterday in my studio?

    I’m dying to curl up in it and read a good book ….

    … with the cozy crocheted blanket one of my oldest and dearest friends made

    she made it just for me…lil ol’ me!

    .. doesn’t it just warm your heart, when someone puts that much love

    and precious time into a gift created especially for you? …

    handmade gifts really are the best

    they rank right up there with old friends….

    …a good cup of hot cocoa

    and big comfy chairs …

    …this is beginning to sound alot like a love list!

    i’m long overdue to write another…

    … what was it i was saying

    before i so rudely interrupted myself…

    hmmm….

    Oh! The giveaway!

    All this talk about chairs gives me an idea! …

    .. How about a chair of your very own?

    And what if more than one of you received one…

    hmmm… let’s say ….

    … how about  2, no… 5? …hmmm…. maybe 10 of you?

    Yay! I thought you’d be pleased! …

    “When fortune calls, offer her a chair” – Yiddish Proverb  

    The story goes a little like this.

    When I ordered these (truly gorgeous) pewter chair ornaments for my store a few years back, I had to go overboard and overbudget to order what seemed like umpteen gazillion of them. Which was fine at the time, really… I was ok waiting to make my money back.  That is, until recently.

    So first ya figure, I need to bring in an income, like really make one- now. I have all but used up my savings during the last 3.5 months while the store was closed. Family emergencies, life itself, deadlines, illness, time…. i’m sure you know the drill. We’ve all been there at some point in time. So there’s that financial aspect — If i can just make back the cost? I’ll be content.

    However, the money is (sadly) the least of my worries with them.

    “You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.” -Stephen King  

    Truth be told (she says in almost embarrassed fashion) it’s driving-me-outta-already-half-gone mind that these beauties are taking up a full shelf, right within my precious view, in (gasp!) ….styrofoam containers. Horrifying isn’t it? (humor me folks, I already know I’m anal). There is not one single-ounce-of-my-trying-to-get-back-a-size 6-body that likes how they looked stored in those. I don’t want to remove the treasured chairs from it and sell people something that has been displayed… but I simply cannot stand styrofoam. It gives me that chilling-nails-on-a-chalkboard-kinda-creepy feeling. *Total shudder* even thinking about it. Maybe it’s that tactile hypersensitivity  thing some docs say people with Tourette’s Syndrome have? I dunno. I don’t care. I want ’em gone!

    BUT -I did totally have sense enough to set aside a nice stash of the actual pewter chairs for myself – to alter, art up, house in the many-many-dollhouses-i-hope-to-one-day-own, display and so forth. I love the pewter chairs themselves, even if I abhor the packaging. I have marked them on clearance — a get-the-heck-outta-my-home  price, and I’m even going to give a bunch away to y’all today too! So my ridiculous OCD is your gain.

    The thing is, you’ll need to inspire me or make me laugh to call one your very own. The more people that enter via a comment.. the more people that will win. I don’t want the 29 days of giving to lose steam – so I’m giving you incentive to continue spreading the word. I have yet to unveil of the some best giveaways … and we’ve already had some darn good ones!

    That being said – here’s the rules today:

    • Tell me how you would artify or alter one these pretty chairs, or otherwise make use of it (I just know some of you are re-gifters!) and if you are a drawing a blank there merely make me feel a smidge saner, and tell me what gives you that silly, not very sensical ‘Oh the Horror!’ feeling. Much like the relationship styrofoam and I have.
    • Do this by: Monday, December 15th
    • For every 15 entries/comments we get on this one, I’ll give away a chair. Not shabby eh? Up to 10 of them total. Excited? Spread the word!
    • Plenty of time to enter the Day 0 Contest too.
    As for Days 1-5 …be sure to enter by 2pm EST tomorrow (12/9/08). Cause I’ll be using one of those handy-dandy online tools then to randomize the winners. Get crackin’!
    Chrysti – Future President of the Anti-Styrofoam Packaging Club.
     
     

     

    29 Days of Giveaways for you!

    Yep.

    You heard me correctly – I’m giving away some amazing things for the next 29 days & YOU could be a winner! Books, Classes, Magazines, Art, and oh-so-much-more.

    Read on….

    A few months ago my friend Lia turned me onto the 29 Days of Giving  project and almost instantly I knew it was a perfect fit for me. Though I’ve never been what one would call wealthy or rich with material things I’m always eager to share what I have. As a child, I used to drive my mother nuts by giving away my beloved toys and books to friends, schools, neighbors or anyone else my little mind thought could benefit from said object. Each of my belongings all had their own voices to me, and if i felt someone else could provide them with a better home, or appreciate them – well I gave it away, and often without permission.

    As I grew older, I loved surprising people with an unexpected care package, spoiling them on holidays and other occasions, sending a card with an appreciative note out of the blue.. the list goes on and on and on. I suppose at heart, I’m a sap. (Though I won’t often admit it).

    “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

    It wasn’t until I was an adult, that the real value of giving started sinking into my brain. What others called generous, I saw as selfish – because at the end of the day, I loved making people happy. Why? Because It made me feel good. I liked the optimism I’d attain, I relished the satisfaction that someone else’s day may just be a brighter, and in turn maybe they’d pass that kindness on. One by one, step by step.. the world becomes just a tad bit nicer as a result of that small, single action. I dunno, I kinda love that the universe is so much bigger than all of us and yet we are all a part of it. No deed is too small. No life is worthless. All that we touch, becomes a part of us. Kind of amazing when you really think about it.

    “There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.”
    – Peyton Conway March

    I’ll spare you a long, thought out analysis of it — and get to my point. The last few years have been amazing, but I have become SO very overwhelmed creating my business, I began cutting out all the lil things that took away from that time – and somehow, giving (though always present in my head to do).. got pushed down to the bottom of the list. That proverbial ‘tomorrow’ I’d do it on, never came. The thing is… I had no idea how that would also rob me of small joys, human connections, and even how it’d take away a bit of my hopeless optimism. Gotta wonder what all I’ve missed as a result of letting that slip.

    So, upon discovering the 29 days of giving site – I decided to make giving ( of myself, and of things ) a priority again. I promised myself, I’d find ways to make it work within my world again vs. convincing myself that I didn’t have time. Really, we always have room for goodness in our lives, if we let it in.

    So here we are.

    For the first 29 days — I recruited some friends along with myself to bring you some amazing giveaways; right here, through my lil’ blog. You simply have to check in daily, and leave a comment — or whatever instructions await you that day. Winners will be drawn using a handy generator online, and announced here. It starts tomorrow (or tonight if I am impatient).. and I hope you are as excited about it as I am.

    It won’t end there either… but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what all is in store. True to form, I’ve altered the challenge a bit, and am doing my take on it.. as a permanent part of my life.

    These Hands - 22

    Will you spread the word about my giveaways? There’s plenty to go around, and the more people we can touch – the better.

    • If you promote this online – leave me a comment, on THIS post with a link to where you announced it; and you’ll be entered into a special contest that will run throughout the duration of this project. The winner will receive a whopping $100.00 gift certificate at my new site!  
    • Everyone who particpates in this will be receiving a small, surprise something from me in the new year too.

    If you’d like to be a part of this, and have something to giveaway – leave a comment, and I will get back to you – Even if it won’t fit this first part, it may fit into the next installment!

    While you’re at it – let me know what you wish for on the comments. Who knows, it just may come true :-)

    Adding on the links to each day, so those who come to this post directly don’t miss it!

    Closed, But some awesome conversations to peruse:
    Day 1/29   Day 2/29  Day 3/29  Day4/29  Day 5/29 Day 6/29   Day 7/29  Day 8/29  Day 9/29 Day 10/29  Day 11/29  Day 12/29  Day 13/29  Day 14/29  Day 15/29 

    Giveaways Still Open: This one (Day o), & Day 16 & Day 17  & Day 18 & Day 19 !

    Are you a Winner?  Batch 1 Winners  Batch 2 Winners  Batch 3 Winners

    Warmly, Chrysti

    Finish this sentence …

    “Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.”
    ~ Lovelle Drachman 

    I thouroughly enjoyed all the creative responses to the last seemingly silly question I asked y’all… your responses continue to brighten my day, and let me sides of y’all i wouldn’t normally be exposed to…

     … i love that. Love, Love, Love it.

    This time, I’m simply asking you to finish this sentence…

    Somewhere, someone is _______________________ ..

    Easy, Peasy eh?

    Looking forward to your responses…

    Chrysti

    One, Quick Question – Please Answer!

    Gluttony

    If you were a food… what food would you be and why?

    Extra Credit: If you were a beverage, which one would you be & why?

    Just in the mood to get to know my long, lost readers again! Won’t you leave me a comment witht he answer?  Yes, I’m phasing my way back to the blogosphere slowly…

    Warmly,  Chrysti