The Perfect Last Minute Gift

December 24, 2013

seasons greetings.pngIt’s part of holiday tradition to celebrate with family and friends and to share gifts with our loved ones. There’s no measuring how much is spent on the combined effort and money to find the perfect gift.

The challenge is to identify the right gift in the right color and size; something they really want and need; and something that won’t break the budget.

“Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost a Cent” are suggestions that have been offered on numerous Internet sites attributed to an anonymous writer. They may be just what you need to find the perfect gift.

• THE GIFT OF LISTENING…but you must really listen. No interrupting; no daydreaming; no planning your response; just listening.

• THE GIFT OF AFFECTION…be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

• THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER…clip cartoons and share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say “I love to laugh with you.”

• THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE…it can be a simple “thanks for the help” note or a full letter. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime and may even change a life.

• THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT…a simple and sincere, “you look great in red” or “you did a super job” or “that was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

• THE GIFT OF A FAVOR… go out of your way every day to do something kind.

• THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE…there are times when a person wants nothing more than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

• THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION…the easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. It’s really not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

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Perception ~ Facebook Style

December 22, 2013

I frequently scan Facebook to see what others are doing in their lives. Catching up with friends from the past, checking on others with illness, family events, joys and sorrows, articles of interest, real estate tools, travel destination recommendations, quotes, photos, etc… My contributions to my personal or business Facebook page vary in topic as silly, serious, educational, personal and just plain odd sometimes. I try to share bits of my life that I don’t mind others knowing. There are a few people I follow that I genuinely can’t wait to see what they post next. One is a REALTOR® who absolutely makes me laugh out loud at her humorous style. Another is a mom that truly makes me think, Really? The posts she puts out there are going to be so humiliating for her children when they are able to understand the significance of the tales she shares with the whole world even though I truly enjoy reading them. One friend posts EVERY quote that comes across their feed. Can that many quotes truly affect someone so much that they have to repost all of them every minute they check their Facebook? And don’t get me started on the political commentary. Best tool I found on Facebook was being able to control who’s posts I see or not without de-friending them. Then there are those that share every recipe they see. I found the BEST recipe EVER, EVER, EVER for a roast from someone sharing. And do you have friends that post really stupid stuff that only mean something to them but make the rest of us think “did you really just say that to the world”? I do love seeing the posts of others achievements and accomplishments whether it be weight loss, marriages, new babies, fitness goals, promotions, retiring, company highlights and overcoming physical ailments. But the ones I see that are so obsessed with their jobs/professions/careers are the ones that bother me the most. This blog post actually was inspired this morning by one of those posts. I know that this person has other parts of their life because I really do know them in person, but 99% of their posts share aspects of their career obsession. I totally understand the need of promoting yourself or in my case, services as a service provider, but why not take a breath and share something about your family or a fun event or even something that interests you outside your job? That’s the beauty of Facebook. Different personalities. Different writing styles. Different life priorities. It’s also the beauty of Facebook to filter what you are bombarded with.

Thank you to all my Facebook friends for sharing whatever parts of your life that you do share. It has been a joy to get to know many of you better and I’ve learned many things from this powerful social tool. And if I share too much, you can always change your settings!

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Christmas Tree Personality

December 21, 2013

energy home.pngThe energy-efficient home upgrades tax credit is scheduled to expire on December 31st this year. If you need to make improvements to your home, this could be an incentive to do it before the end of the year. If you have already made qualifying improvements without realizing the tax credit is available, it may seem like a holiday gift you weren’t expecting.

The equipment must be installed to qualify for the credit which can put you under a time crunch. Heating and cooling systems, insulation, windows, doors, skylights, water heaters and home weatherization may qualify.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit has been available for purchases since January 1, 2011. The tax credit is 10% of up to $5,000 of qualifying improvements which would make a maximum of $500 tax credit.

The cumulative maximum amount of tax credit that can be claimed by a taxpayer in the different years this law has been in effect is $500. If it has been claimed in previous years, the taxpayer is not eligible for this credit for additional new purchases.

For more information, see energy.gov or talk to your tax professional.

Things I’m Thankful For This Christmas Season!

1. Amazon.com!
2. Free Shipping ON Amazon.com
3. 7′ pencil trees
4. Visiting my yardman in the hospital and being incredibly blessed by his family’s humble and gracious spirit in the face of uncertainty.
5. Unexpected referral checks in my last paycheck before Christmas!
6. Random acts of kindness.
7. My annual new Christmas CD selection, “A Mary Christmas” by Mary J. Blige. Not one of my traditional artists I am fond of, but oh WOW, this is pretty awesome.
8. Fantastic service at Chick-Fil-A no matter what time of year it is.

Things I’m NOT Particularly Thankful For This Christmas!

1. Navigating parking at Eastchase…… ugh.
2. Waiting 6 whole minutes for a Walmart Manager to override a .50 cent manual entry coupon code before being able to check out.
3. Shortage of toffee bits.
4. Grocery prices. Probably the only time of the year that I buy this much food.
5. Unsold listings.
6. Not having my dad for the first Christmas in my life.
7. Christmas Day falling on a Wednesday.
8. Season finale of Homeland.

Go Postal

December 14, 2013

Who knew sending smaller envelopes as your Christmas cards this year would cost so much more postage? Every year I do this over thinking of my Christmas card. This year I used Shutterfly.com and it was so-so. The quality was not quite what I expected. I chose a 5×5 selection. Not my favorite card of all time, but it’ll do. After addressing them and getting them ready and took off to the post office yesterday to get the stamps the clerk just happens to notice that the size is odd and says “oh, you probably need extra postage on those”. What???? It’s a 5×5. Did you know that a 5×5 takes a .66 cent stamp? Hmmmmm, won’t do that again. Just glad I didn’t put the normal postage on it and everyone got a postage due notice in their mailbox. Now that would have been a Scroogy thing to do! Still can’t figure out how the postal system is so dang broke!

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Paying it forward

December 11, 2013

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What makes a person continue to be kind to others, help them prosper and provide for their families, wish them well and turn the other cheek for harm done to them? I’m not sure, but it warms my heart to hear when it happens and peace can be made. As the holiday season of giving and receiving is upon us and creates an environment of generosity and peace, I am reflecting on a year in which a dear friend has endured a horrific family breakup. Divorce, as I’ve witnessed through friends over the years, is a tragic and sad event particularly when it involves children that do not deserve the dissolution of a family unit. I have been fortunate to have survived (yes, I said that) a little over 33 years of marriage. I say survived because at times it has been in crisis mode. For the most part it has been filled with wonder, joy, peace, calm and fun.

I received a copy of some correspondence today from my friend to an individual that truly chose the “wrong” side of the divorcing parties. After a year of protecting herself from this party it was discovered that he benefited from some kind words of recommendation my friend provided in order to help him secure a potential new job opportunity. He genuinely seemed to be astonished that she would assist him with something so significant to help him and his family. I admire her “paying it forward” spirit and kindness. One of the traits that makes me so happy she is my friend. I always want her on my side. A friend that loves you no matter what is just the kind of friend I am so proud to have!

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