Be generous of spirit

I love days like this … several new magazines in the mail. So much to read, to enjoy, to ponder. With my icy Diet Coke in hand (I’ve tried to like coffee to no avail), I settled down to peruse my MaryJanesFarm magazine … after I made sure supper was bubbling on the stove, and after I made sure the kids were deeply involved in another episode of Little House on the Prairie. Mail time … 30 minutes in the late afternoon when I just sit and take it all in (unless it’s a bill-pay-mail-day, and in that case I pull out a novel!).

I fumbled into a story on page 23, written by Tad Bartimus, 2008 recipient of the Washington Press Club Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She writes, I learned from my father that “There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are generous of spirit, and those who aren’t.” By page 24 I was totally captivated.

As I grow older and, hopefully, wiser, I distance myself from “toxic people” and seek out friends and neighbors whose values and lifestyle have already revealed their generous spirits. Surrounding myself with non-judgmental minds, open hearts and spontaneous laughter inspires me to be a better person and makes me happy …

Epiphany! Words to live by. I’ve been doing the same … distancing myself from toxic people, that is. Folks who aren’t necessarily mean or nasty or bad, but people who always, ALWAYS, see the glass half empty. People who criticize everything and rejoice over nothing. They reply to your excitement with something negative, critical or mean-spirited. They have the power to change your confident smile and happy demeanor into self-doubt. They greet you with demands instead of caring, compassionate words or smiles. They make you feel guilty for not falling into their quagmire.

Maybe you know someone who fits the description. Maybe you’ve tried to help them find joy again. I hope you were successful. If not … step away. Life is too short—too valuable, to waste on misery. And just because you can’t change ’em, doesn’t mean you have to join ’em.

Generous spirits make a better world.
The same magazine had another article, Compassion. Author Rebekah Teal writes:
I’ve noticed a new popular pastime. And that is to take pleasure in criticizing others. Have you noticed it? The way we’ve all become generally intolerant of the other guy? We sit around and stew about what someone else is doing or not doing, what someone else has or doesn’t have, what someone else believes or doesn’t believe. We even speculate about motives. In short, we lack compassion for each other, and that is giving us a bad attitude … It hurts us. It gets in the way of finding our own joy and contentment.

If you’ve stayed with me this far, thanks so much. I realize I’ve been going on and on!  I’ll conclude this rambling soap-box diatribe with Teal’s words:
When we become so negative about things that are irrelevant to us, we are unable to seek the positive things that are truly relevant. There is no room, no motivation, and no energy left to find the fireflies in our own lives.

Maybe I’ll make a list of my fireflies … a husband who survives my moods, appreciates my dilemmas and supports my dreams. A two-year-old who revels in nakedness and shouts “Woo-hoo!” when he manages to escape a diaper. A doe-eyed, long-lashed six-year-old whose infectious grin helps her escape predicaments. A serious, thoughtful and tenderhearted eight-year-old who knows when Mommy needs a hug. Yeah, I have some awfully bright fireflies. You do too …  

Go put on your rose-colored glasses! Grab your red lipstick and highlight those lips … then use ’em. Give a genuine smile to a stranger and see if they don’t pay you back immediately.

Want to read these articles in their entirety? Suscribe online or pick up a copy of MaryJanesFarm at your local bookstore. I’ve also seen it for sale at Tractor Supply Company. It’s a beautiful publication filled with helpful tips and tricks, recipes, beautiful photos and inspirational stories for anyone who possesses a farm girl spirit.

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Filed under Children, Family, Rural Life

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