gratitude

Celebrating with a Donation

This month, I’m focusing on celebrating. I know I’ve talked about how to celebrate the small things. And I think I’ve discussed the WHY of celebrating, at least a bit, but I want to talk about that a bit more.

Why celebrate?

Well, for one thing, it is a means of being mindful. If you remember to celebrate something—whether it’s something big like a wedding anniversary, or something small like finding your favorite brand of mustard is finally back in stock (yes, actual example from my life)—you are at that moment in the moment. And if all we have is now, and now is a celebration, well, that is a good thing.

For another, it’s a means of promoting gratitude. And as I posted back in November, gratitude helps to create abundance. And abundance may just give you more to celebrate, creating a wonderful circle of positive energy swirling about in your life, and isn’t a circle of positivity something to celebrate and be grateful for? Because just as we talk about people’s lives “spiraling out of control” or “on a downward spiral”, when they are living in chaos or negativity (which is negative energy), we can put ourselves into a happier spiral of positive energy. And it doesn’t mean you have to ignore or avoid any of the “bad” things in life; it just requires you to see and acknowledge and, yes, celebrate the good.

A Celebration Donation

This morning, I celebrated selling some art and wrote out a check to them for the Jersey Shore paintings that sold during The Most Wonderful Time event that I hosted back on December 2nd, bringing my total donations to the organization (so far) from art sales to $60. I still have two pieces left, including my favorite of the entire series, Jersey Shore #7 (I love the little penciled sandpiper footprints).

The two pieces you see above are all that remains of seven pieces I did in my Jersey Shore series. I created the series last fall after spending a lovely weekend at the shore with my husband, and in order to celebrate the creation of those pieces, I promised to donate 25% of the price to Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to cleaning up the beaches in New Jersey and to protecting the shoreline by opposing offshore blasting and drilling, as well as working to reduce the amount of plastic put into the waterways in the first place.

I have to tell you that I had a happy little celebration here this morning. I smiled as I wrote out the check to Clean Ocean Action, grateful for the sales, grateful that there is money in my business’s checking account that allows me to write the check, and grateful that I am able to help such a worthy cause, even if it is a rather small donation. I smiled as I wrote a note in a pretty notecard, and sealed and addressed the envelope, and said a little “thank you” to the Universe for it all.

So yes, a donation to something you support is a form of celebration. I’m sure you make donations, whether it’s to a religious organization, a charitable organization, or a political one. And I’d encourage you to think of those as a form of celebration. And to feel the joy and gratitude of being privileged to write that check, hand over some cash, or send a donation online.

Six ways to celebrate the little things

Ideas for big occasions, like birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, b’nai mitzvot, graduations, and baby showers (major life events) are super well-known and well-documents. Throw a party (expected or surprise). Give gifts to the celebrants, make a toast, send a greeting card (thoughtful is best). Go out to dinner with family or friends. Make a video honoring the person or people who are being honored. Set up a powerpoint with photos. Hire a DJ or a clown. Have a barbecue or pool party.

But I’m a bit more interested in how to celebrate smaller events. And even what counts as “smaller” is a matter of interpretation. A promotion at work, or getting a new job. Making your first sale in your new business. Usually these things are marked with cheers, going out to dinner, and/or having a celebratory drink.

Celebrate Every Little Thing!-2.png


What about those still smaller events? Meeting a deadline (even a self-imposed one); finishing a project — even if it’s an intermediate goal (like finishing writing a chapter in a manuscript); sending an email or letter that was difficult for you; actually going to the gym; doing that piece of adulting that you find difficult, whatever it might be.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

It’s far more common for us all to just turn to the next thing on our list and push ahead without marking them at all. And at the end of the day, we feel tired and depleted. But there’s another way: a way where you take a few minutes to honor your accomplishment and celebrate it.

Here are six ways you can celebrate the small things:

  1. Get yourself a cup of tea, a nice cup of coffee, a cup of cocoa, or a good piece of chocolate, and take a few minutes to savor whatever your treat might be.

  2. Reward yourself with some self-care: take salt bath; take a short walk (preferably outside).

  3. Schedule some self-care that involves others, like a massage, a haircut, etc.

  4. Go see a movie or watch something you’ve been saving on Netflix.

  5. Journal about it, so you have something in your gratitude journal for the day.

  6. Buy yourself some flowers or some ice cream or a small cake on the way home.


This month, I want to talk about celebration

I realized this evening that I said a lot of things about celebration in the newsletter that I sent out yesterday. That’s because it’s the new theme for the emails I’ll be sending out this month. And then it occurred to me that a bunch of my blog readers might not be subscribed to my newsletter. (Which you can fix right here, if you want a weekly dose of positive living.) It’s something I wanted to share with you in the meantime.

Here’s a bit of what I said:

It's December. Hanukkah started on Sunday evening, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve are coming up. These can be the best or worst of times for many people. And I want to talk about celebration.

This has been a year, y'all. You know I mean it since I don't even say "y'all" all that often. I know I've mentioned my father having cancer, and we are moving out of 2018 hoping he's left that behind for good. That is something truly worth celebrating. But there have been other things, some of which aren't mine to tell, that linger on, and losses, like that of my husband's wonderful cousin. If you knew Selwyn, I'm pretty sure you liked and admired him, and if you didn't, then believe me when I say that you would have. It is easy to celebrate his life, even as losing him is no fun.

I want to talk about celebration as a thing we do, or maybe should do, daily, rather than on a grand scale. Ringing the bell to end chemo or radiation. Cheering for a kid whose team just won, or who competed in a debate, a recital or a concert. Raising a glass to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Marking and honoring whatever small victory you may have experienced on any given day.

new month, new theme.png

This Friday, my sweetheart and I will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary (yes, we have an anniversary date “that will live in infamy”, since we got married on Pearl Harbor Day). And that’s one of the sorts of bigger events that folks tend to celebrate, but I’ve also been celebrating smaller things, like the success of our holiday shopping event this past weekend. Or the wee victory dance I did when I (or, uh, Morris, yeah, that’s what I meant) ordered a new pinafore apron for me as an anniversary gift.

So plan on some posts and thoughts about celebrations: what they are and can be, why we should have as many as we can, and even some ideas on how to celebrate things. Because celebration fits together really well with gratitude, and both of them lead to abundance, so if you think these things are all wrapped together, you’re right!

You guys! I just have to share the love!

I don’t want to bury the lede here, so I will come out and tell you straight away that I am giving you all a holiday present this week, and it’s kind of a big deal. (Some people might even call this “a sale”.) So if that’s what you are looking for, feel free to scroll on down to that straight away to get the details.

But first, I’ma tell you why I’m giving you all a present, and it’s because I am so so grateful for all the love and support everyone has been giving my business. Yesterday was the open studio event I created, and you guys, it was totally appropriate that it was called “A Most Wonderful Time”. It was such a treat for me to have Erin from Clove & Cedar, Lisa from Natures Energy, and Rita from Jularee here yesterday, because they are super wonderful people. And also because supporting other small businesses, other makers, other women, other local businesses . . . that is super important to me. And while these wonderful women don’t fit in ANY box, they manage to tick off all those important boxes at the same time.

Rita from Jularee, Erin from Clove & Cedar, me, and Lisa from Natures Energy

Rita from Jularee, Erin from Clove & Cedar, me, and Lisa from Natures Energy

These women are seriously great. And we had so much fun, too!

My dining and living rooms were transformed to small shops, my studio was full of light and art, we have a kitchen full of snacks, the mulled cider was a huge hit (with or without spiced rum added in), and on top of that, we were joined by quite a number of lovely souls who came out on a grey drizzly day to support small, local woman-owned businesses. A massive thanks to EVERYONE who helped to make yesterday such a success, with a special thanks to my sweetheart, Morris, who kept an eye on the coffee pots and was super helpful all day. (He took that photo of the four of us, above.)

I know there were a lot of local folks who wanted to come, but had other things on their schedules for yesterday, just as I heard from lots of folks who don’t live anywhere near here, who wished they could make it.

So I have a gift for you all. I’m giving you 50% off all my collages and almost all of my paintings.

Starting today, and running until Thursday, December 5th, at midnight, all of my collages on my website are 50% off. In addition, nearly all my paintings are 50% off, so if you’ve been wanting one of them, now’s your chance to scoop them up at a serious discount! The only pieces on the Paintings page that are NOT on sale of the two remaining Jersey Shore pieces, which have always been value-priced at $48. Twenty-five percent of the price of each of the Jersey Shore pieces is donated to Clean Ocean Action, an organization dedicated to cleaning up the beaches in New Jersey—it’s my way of giving back to the shore, which inspired this series of seven original pieces.

I am just so thankful for all your love and support with my business, and this was the biggest present I could think of this year. No discount codes, coupons, or secret passwords needed . . . you get half off all my original collages and (most) paintings.

IMG_4064.jpg

Oh, one more thing!

A bonus gift for the first 10 customers.

The first 10 people to purchase online (whether it’s one greeting card or something more) will get one of my Christmas-themed greeting cards for free! “I saw three ships come sailing in” was inspired by a line from a Christmas carol. The original collage (available on the Collage page) features three ships, each bearing its own seasonal decoration: a wee Christmas tree, colorful shields, and a holly leaf flag.

Again, I just had to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you: those who read this blog, those who came to shop yesterday, those who wanted to be here but couldn’t, those who have been cheering my small business on as it starts to get off the ground and tries to take flight. I appreciate you all so very much, and I’m so grateful!