Spreading Love and Building Community

The other day I was setting my kids up for their daily TV time when I happened to glance out the window and see a car parked at the end of my driveway. I immediately jumped to conclusions and decided that one of the parents from the family daycare across the street had blocked me in. I had nowhere to go for quite some time, but I immediately started fuming. “They shouldn’t do that! That’s unreasonable! There’s plenty of other parking!”

You can imagine how ridiculous I felt when someone got out of the car, and I happened to recognize her. It was my friend (and Crafting my Life interviewee) Amanda, a.k.a. PoMo Mama. And she came bearing gifts. Homemade bread, and jam made by her neighbour. She’d read some of my recent blog posts, and thought I sounded a little beleaguered. The truth is, I felt a little beleaguered. And having someone else recognize that and do something for me was really amazing.

A gift

Of course, with bread and jam I needed a pot of my favourite tea.

A pot of my favorite tea

And I needed my super-cool Donny and Marie mug to drink it in. My husband brought it back for me from a conference he attended in Vegas, and I adore it. Plus, the irony of drinking caffeinated beverages from a mug adorned with some of the world’s most famous Mormons is not lost on me.

My super-cool Donny & Marie mug

It all amounted to creating a little bit of space in my day to relax and breathe. So. Awesome.

My definition of bliss

When you work at home, especially as a parent who can’t just pick up and go at your own discretion, you can feel very alone in the world. Your work day never really ends, and there are always many things competing for your attention. I don’t mean to whine, and I recognize that there are many upsides to my current situation, which is why I’ve embraced it. But when you feel overwhelmed and trapped in your house and someone reaches out and shares the love, it’s so appreciated.

The truth is that even if I don’t get out as much as I used to, I have a broad community. Amanda lives less than 10 minutes away from me, but we most frequently talk online. And she’s not the only one I share that kind of virtual bond with. I am very fortunate to have a space where I can connect with other people from my messy, noisy family room, in the middle of the overwhelming crush of a busy Wednesday. And I am even more fortunate when that connection transforms itself into a real-life treat on my doorstep.

Amanda’s action, and my friend Joyelle’s charge to engage in random acts of kindness, have inspired me. I would like to pay it forward, and spread the love. But how?

I’ve decided to give away chocolate. Because what says love more than chocolate? I am going to buy 12 of my favourite chocolate bars and send them to 12 people. One of them could be you, if you’re willing to think about how you’re going to pay it forward. Leave me a comment here on or before June 27 telling me how you spread the love and build community, online or offline. Or how someone has given you the pick-me-up that you needed, right when you needed it.

And while you’re at it, if you want to spread the love even further, I am doing another reader survey. I would really appreciate a few minutes of your time, so that I can do a better job at building and serving my own community. To spread the love even further, I bought extra chocolate bars just for people who complete my survey, so you have two shots at chocolate. Complete my reader survey here:

Let’s Share the Survey Love!
The survey is now closed

Now, let’s all have a group hug. Because you, the amazing person reading this, are a very important part of my community.

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Comments

  1. This is something I’d really like to do more of. Last night we returned home from Father’s Day dinner at my in-laws to find that our neighbours/friends had left a really nice bottle of beer and a thank-you card for the Hubs. They are two moms to a little boy that my daughter is friends with, and they wanted to thank the Hubs for being an excellent male role model in their son’s life. We were so touched, and it got me thinking what wonderful neighbours we have in general. We are so lucky to share a courtyard with some AMAZING people, and Lilah is lucky to have so many little friends within such easy access. It’s just incredible what a difference a strong sense of community makes.

    As for paying it forward… well, I’m having a hard time thinking of things. But, come to think of it, I have been planning to organize a group gift basket of Vancouver-themed trinkets for a friend who is living abroad and is currently undergoing some intense chemotherapy. Vancouver is her home, and she doesn’t have as strong a support system where she is living now, so I thought it would be nice to remind her that her Vancouver contingent is thinking of her and pulling for her. Now that I’ve put it out there, I’ll need to start mobilizing the troops and getting this group of friends on board! Thanks for the kick in the butt, Amber!

    I’ve already filled out your survey, too! (I’m a big fan of chocolate.)
    Amanda’s last post … Daddy’s Day.My Profile

  2. victoria says:

    i am rubbish at thinkng in the spot about these types of things- i do however think of people whne they need an extra hand or just a little hello- not sure what i can do but i do love the firend who borugh you the jam and bread!! alas i have been amiss on bread making since my 13 year old breadmaker kciked the bucket earlier this year (along side the vaccuum and a few other household items) seeing that hubby and i have been married 14 years most of our itmes seem to be failing us now!!! maybe I need the act of kindness more right now!! lol

  3. I LOVE this. I love that you got from a friend just what you needed when you needed it. How amazing. Good for you for inspiring the rest of us to do the same. I’m going to pay it forward for sure, now I just need to decide how!
    Christine’s last post … The beginningMy Profile

  4. That is awesome. I’d love it if someone showed up with fresh bread and jam!

    I like the thought of paying it forward. I’ll have to think of something.

  5. Violetsouffle says:

    This is so sweet. I love that you’re thanking your friend publicly for her kindness I think as much as bing kind to others is very important and rewarding, thanking them for their good deeds if you can-is always really important. As for good deeds, I’ve been making and sending my whimsical handmade skirts& shorts to toddlers around the US for free for months, as well as free sticker mail to anyone I meet online who asks& gives me their child’s mailing addy. I have no intention to stop anytime soon because It’s always rewarding to give to a child 🙂

  6. Amber, I just love your great big generous blogging heart.

    I had a really lovely “mutual paying-it-forward” experience last week. I dropped off a big dinner of roast chicken, potatoes, and salad-from-our-garden to a new mama neighbor (and doula client) last week. Her baby has reflux, and I know that she had been struggling especially in the afternoon and evenings.

    When I got home, I saw that she had just sent me a gift certificate to Earth Mama Angel Baby earlier that afternoon. She mentioned something about knowing that I had been struggling with morning sickness.

    It was pretty special to see our thoughts for each other synch up like that!
    Kristen’s last post … Interview with Patricia Harman, CNMMy Profile

  7. Yummy! Sign me UP! I’ll do a giveaway too, to pay it forward….maybe one of my crochet projects….
    Melissa Vose’s last post … The Thing About ScalpsMy Profile

  8. p.s. my favorite nice moments are when people I don’t know say my kids are cute/well behaved/sweet/I’m doing a good job. Or when strangers offer to help. Because I try to hard to act like an octopus when clearly I’m not.
    Melissa Vose’s last post … The Thing About ScalpsMy Profile

  9. What a wonderful surprise for you! My own acts of kindness usually stem from my attempts to listen and pay attention to my friends. I find myself picking up little prizes here and there for that person or this person, always based on something they have mentioned in conversation. I love bestowing these small and simple gifts on my friends for no occasion in particular.

    This weekend, I injured myself and received many passing, let-me-know-if-you-need-anythings, which was nice. What was nicer, though, was the sweet friend who picked up lunch and a tasty baked treat and came over to keep me company and enjoy it with me. Those little actions mean so much more than words ever could!
    Melissa’s last post … A Belated Father’s Day TributeMy Profile

  10. that was so nice of Amanda. I should really move to your neighborhood.
    Francesca’s last post … my hand fansMy Profile

  11. Oooh, chocolate!

    I’ve been reading Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes and Eaarth by Bill McKibben, and it’s become clear to me that I need to build my IRL community here in Brooklyn. I’ve been planning to start inviting friends over for dinner. Eventually I hope to graduate to having actual dinner parties, so that friends of mine who don’t know each other can mix and mingle.

    But first: gotta get some more chairs for our guests to sit on!
    Rachael’s last post … The Longest DayMy Profile

  12. LOL about the car at the end of the driveway! always good to create and solve strife with toast and jam 🙂
    PS: thanks for receiving so graciously – it made me feel good too. glad you liked it
    pomomama’s last post … midlife monday: those who inspireMy Profile

  13. Your friend is awesome!

    Just this morning, I finished a huge project, a big weight off my shoulders. I’m ready to engage with the world again, whew.
    Lady M’s last post … Child LaborMy Profile

  14. first and foremost, the batteries in my wireles mouse for my Mac are dead. The obvious disadvantage of cultivating a toy box that is devoid of electronic toys is that when I need to steal AA batteries out of a toy for my own selfish purposes I’m out of luck. I just finished your survey and I’m trying to warn you that the autocorrect feature on my Ipad, in its bossiness, may have messed up an answer or two.

    As far as paying it forward goes, I hope that people can get something out of reading my blog. I was initially discouraged at not getting a ton of comments, but when I’m out and about people talk to me about it so I know that I have a lot of lurkers, which made me feel better.

    I make Hilary Lang’s Evelyn Inchworm ( a small felt crafty thing) and give her to people who I like or have helped me in some way. In fact Amber, if you give me your address I would like to send one to you because reading your blog is VERY helpfulw
    Audra’s last post … Greeting the SunMy Profile

  15. I spread the love both offline and online!!! Offline, I remind friends how much I care about them and let them know they are loved when they need it most. I send a card by snail mail, which I think has more meaning nowadays when all we typically get in the mail are bills. Online I keep in touch with friends around the world and say hi to people that I haven’t heard from in a while. Occasionally, I will look through my list of friends on Facebook and send an update and hello to people I haven’t been in touch with. On twitter, I often find myself helping others find information and send them a link 🙂

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  1. […] late June I asked you all to share the love with me by doing my reader survey. 64 of you lovely people weighed in, and I am tremendously […]

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