Wordless Wednesday: Not Really the Intention

My good friend contributed today’s Wordless Wednesday photo. As you can see, her bird feeder isn’t being used as intended.

cat and squirrel

Wordless Wednesday (4.23.14): Not Really the Intention by Jenny Kelly

Linking up with

5 Minutes for Mom
Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday @ The Jenny Evolution

On Blood Moons, Divorce, and Ultimate Happiness

blood moon

blood moon photo via space.com

“Blood moon is rising tonight!”

The text came across my phone from a close friend last Monday afternoon.

“That doesn’t sound good,” I replied.

She went on to explain that the blood moon doesn’t happen often and especially not during Holy week. The last time it happened at this time was during the week leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus.

“Wow. And I just filed my divorce forms. What do you think that means?!”

I was at the courthouse just an hour before I received the text. A series of events out of my control had suddenly set me on the fast track to divorce. It was on the day of the blood moon that I made it official.

After the series of texts, I did some research on the blood moon. The blood moon occurs when the Earth spins between the sun and the moon. A red sheen is cast upon the moon when the shadow of the Earth catches the refracted sunlight during this lunar eclipse.

Some say there is a divine connection to the occurrence of the blood moon. The first of a series of four blood moons, known as tetrad, happened on April 15. Tax day. A day when my family is typically celebrating our reunification with my CPA husband.

Some say the blood moon means that “world-shaking events” will take place and start to fulfill the End Times prophecy. While several other tetrad blood moons have occurred in the past, this particular one falls on significant dates for Jewish people.

People react to the idea of impending doom in different ways. Some run from the situation, while others attempt to face it head on. Some predict the end of the world, while others appreciate the rare opportunity. Some say they are sorry, while others congratulate.

“Well, there must be a correlation between the two. An ending to the pain and unhappiness, and the beginning of something really great that’s about to happen in your life!”

Was I completely blind-sided by the situation I find myself in? Not really. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises left after spending nearly 20 years of your life – more than half my life – with the same person. But it takes two people and a mutual understanding of what constitutes love and commitment to make a marriage work for the long haul.

For every extreme down, there has been an extreme up. I am achieving major life goals. Coincidently – or maybe not so coincidently – I have done a great amount of research on gratitude and happiness this past year and have worked on finding what a meaningful life translates for me.

It’s scary as hell, but I’m smart enough to know that while my world is shaking a bit, it is not actually ending. The next blood moon in the tetrad will happen on the 20th anniversary of the first date with my husband. I could assume impending doom, but instead I choose it as a sign of something new and amazing to come.

A new life is just beginning. One in which I can put myself first. Where I can continue to focus on raising my beautiful boys and keep sauntering on my path to ultimate happiness.

I just might get a glimpse of the striking blood moon itself along the way.

bad things happen

image via Trending Mom

Read more about the blood moon: Does the Bible predict the ‘Blood Moon’?

Philanthropy Friday (rewind): 1,000 Mitzvahs

Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.

The following post was originally published on JUNE 29, 2012.

1,000 Mitzvahs I just finished the book 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change your Life by Linda Cohen.

Linda graciously sent me a copy after seeing an inquiry I posted looking for stories for my Philanthropy Friday series. She noted that the book might be a fit with my work. She was right.

The book is about a project she took on after the death of her father. She set out to perform 1,000 mitzvahs in her father’s memory. She tells me “though a mitzvah is actually a commandment in Judaism, it has also become synonymous for doing acts of kindness. The book is inspiring others to take on their own mitzvah projects both individually and as communities.”

In fact, Linda has been getting wonderful reviews for the book and was recently featured in the national spotlight on Fox’s show called “Better TV.”

Linda didn’t set out to change the world. She simply wanted to perform acts of kindness to honor her father. She found that the cumulative effect of the project not only helped her in her grieving, it also made a huge positive impact on her life.

I really enjoyed reading the book. It’s a pretty quick read and covers the various mitzvahs she completed after her father died. Each chapter has a different theme – food, volunteer work, donations, environmental conscience, birthdays, death and grieving, etc. – and includes short stories about the mitzvahs performed.

The neat thing is that just about anyone can complete these simple acts of kindness. Throughout the project, Linda observed how easy it was to do good deeds and to notice when others do good deeds as well. She chronicled her mitzvahs on her blog and continues to post daily mitzvahs on her Facebook page.

A few of my favorite examples included making sure that the next person in the public bathroom has toilet paper, using reusable bags on vacation, recognizing someone who has done a good job, taking the time to send handwritten notes to thank people, and telling someone how they have affected you. Simple stuff that we can do every day and will put a smile on other people’s faces.

I loved the fact that her husband and kids got into the project as well, even discussing whether or not certain acts even counted as a mitzvah. And you could see how the project helped the entire family give more.

By the way, this is not a religious book, and you certainly don’t need to be Jewish to appreciate it. Not being Jewish myself, I found that I actually learned quite a bit about the traditions of Judaism. An added bonus I didn’t expect.

I’ve often noted on this blog that performing small good deeds can make a big impact on another person’s life. They can also help you feel happier. The more I explore the concept of philanthropy and the ways in which we all can contribute, the more I think about doing these simple acts of kindness in everyday life. Or, “spontaneous kindness” as Linda described in her book.

Just the other night, my husband and I were out having a drink of wine, enjoying the fact that we had a babysitter for a short time. It was getting later, and we were the last people in the restaurant. We were sitting in the bar area at a table. When we were all ready to leave, my husband picked up our glasses and set them on the bar. He only walked a few feet, but a man who also worked at the restaurant, looked at us in disbelief and said, “Wow. Thanks.”

He didn’t have to bring our dirty glasses to the bar, and most people wouldn’t even think to do this. But my husband took the extra few seconds to walk a few extra feet and save the waitstaff a little bit of time in the clean up process. Not a huge act, but you could tell it was very much appreciated by the staff.

And all I could think was, “Hey, we just performed a mitzvah!”

What mitzvah, or simple act of kindness, will you perform today?

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