Give Joy Get Joy

The day after Thanksgiving, commercially known as Black Friday, officially launches the Christmas season. Many people dislike Black Friday shopping, and worse, even shame people for taking part in the day. I don’t always take advantage of the incredible sales. When I do, however, I have fun with the experience. A sign I saw hanging in Kohl’s, as I waited in line to purchase, inspired today’s title.

Give Joy Get Joy.

There’s incredible truth in those words, which sparked gratitude.

Give Joy Get Joy

Black Friday Shopping at a Kohl’s

I looked through sales flyers last night, with a mental wish list of items. As hoped, I found several at deeply discounted prices. I’ve rarely been one to get up before dawn to get the best deals. So I slept in a bit this morning. By mid morning I was in the car, with Greg as my driver.

He drops me off at the front of the store and finds a parking spot while I shop. Sometimes he joins me as I wait in line. Most often he waits in the car with a book. On rainy days, like today, I especially appreciate his chauffeur services!

Kohl’s was bustling with cheerful chaos. Lines snaked down either side of the store, stretching to the back. Unconcerned, I did my shopping, carrying the sales flyer to help me locate what I wanted. The lines seemed equally long, so I walked across the back of the store and found the helpful employee holding up a sign. This marked the end of the line.

I don’t mind crowds and waiting in line. If I did, I’d stay home. I choose to participate in the experience in a fun and playful way. The man in front of me turned to say “hi”. I learned his name was Steve and by the time we reached the registers, we were friends. We chatted easily and laughed and smiled at each other every time the line moved forward. His wife popped in and out of our conversations as she continued to shop while Steve kept their place in line.

In less than 20 minutes we were at the registers, after spending those moments in pleasant conversation. I’m grateful for happy people, like Steve, who find joy in life’s experiences. We wished each other a good day, as we walked to different check outs, and he turned to call out, “Have a Merry Christmas too!” The cashier asked me if Steve and I knew each other. “We do now!” I answered.

Give Joy Get Joy

Christmas Mug

I am grateful that I chose to walk across the back of the store and get in the other line. Not only did I enjoy talking to Steve, I spied a Christmas display that reminded me of something important.

Each year, since 1977, I buy a Christmas mug to add to my collection. Greg’s mom began this tradition for me, by giving me a couple of vintage Santa mugs she made in the 1960s. I realized this morning that I had not purchased a mug yet for 2018. I believe the Divine is interested in everything that I do. Every tiny detail of my life is significant. Seeing the display, with every item on sale, was a Divine invitation to pick out a mug.

I selected one that’s completely different from the others in my collection. The gray and white cat represents Shy Boy, Rilynn and Angel. Buying a Christmas cat mug might officially mark me as a “crazy cat lady”. I love my new mug, and instead of paying $14.99 for it, I paid $3.49. I’m grateful for inspiration that guided me to the display and the wonderful sale.

Give Joy Get Joy

Give Joy Get Joy

As I moved slowly and steadily toward the front of the store, chatting with Steve, I noticed a banner hanging from the store ceiling.

It proclaimed:

Give Joy Get Joy

I felt so drawn to the sentiment that I snapped a photo as I drew even with the banner.

The words are true, on multiple levels. We get back what we give out. Give a smile, receive one back. Give love, get love. Be a friend, connect with friends. Frown at someone, get one back. Give complaints, get complaints back. Give joy, get joy.

It’s an energetic truth. Whatever we put out into the world are like little energy missiles…with homing devices. What we send out always returns to us. Be kind, compassionate, helpful to others, and those qualities are given back to us. Be mean spirited, hateful, and unkind and we will experience the same in life.

On this day, it was easy to see the evidence of this law. The complainers just got more frustrated and found more to complain about. The joyful people were happy and relaxed and found more to express joy about. I choose to be mindful about what I am putting out there, energetically. Life just keeps bringing me more to be joyful about as a result.

I’m grateful for the visual reminder of Give Joy Get Joy. It’s my choice whether I shop on Black Friday or stay home. It’s your choice as well. There’s no right or wrong in such decisions, and no reason to make a judgment about it. Do what you enjoy doing, and allow others to do the same. For some the sales make Christmas money go much further.

On that note, I saved $412.33 today, because of sales. I’m smiling about that.

Give Joy Get Joy

The Idea Light

I spent the afternoon working in my creative studio. I’m accomplishing task after task as I tweak the blogs and tackle new technology. As darkness pressed against the windows, I paused to turn on lamps in the small room.

Last year my symbol for 2017 was the light bulb. I have a large Franklin bulb hanging in the corner, above a vintage chair. When I switched on that bulb, my creativity seemed to switch on as well. I enjoyed taking a break from the computer by sitting in my “thinking chair”, beneath the lightbulb. Often used as a symbol for creativity, I sat underneath that visual representation and daydreamed for a short time. Ideas flowed and inspired me.

I’m grateful for this corner of my studio. Create a space for creative ideas to flow…and guess what happens? They flow.

Give Joy Get Joy

Healthy Comfort Food

The day concluded with gratitude for healthy comfort food. When I tell people I am plant based, they picture me eating lots of salads. I occasionally eat a salad, however there is such a wide variety of meals I can prepare within the plant based guidelines.

This easy Macaroni Bake is a favorite. Made with gluten free brown rice pasta, a dairy free cashew sauce, and peas and broccoli, this dish supplies all the comfort of comfort food without the unhealthy stuff. I make Macaroni Bake often during the cold winter months.

What a gratitude filled day. I love that the theme of the day was set by a store banner, on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Give Joy Get Joy.

That joy is rippling through my soul even now, and flowing out in waves that move outward into my world…and Beyond. I know that joy will return to me, multiplied.

Give Joy Get Joy

Black Friday Fun

To many, being grateful for Black Friday may seem crazy. I am though…grateful, that is, not crazy. Do I care what other people choose to believe? Nope. Not only did I save money…I had fun…met new people…shared in an adventure…laughed…and got to order something I’ve been wanting for a while.

I hear all kinds of negatives about this day. And people are certainly entitled to their opinions. I choose not to be negative, even though I don’t always go out and participate. As one who worked in retail prior to real estate, I know how crucial this day can be to businesses, especially small, locally owned shops. For many, their business surviving the next year is dependent on this day and the holiday season. And for people with limited funds, their hard earned cash goes farther when they can take advantage of deep discounts.

And for some, the thrill of the hunt is plain fun for them. My sister Debbie and niece Ashley excel at finding bargains. For me, I don’t typically shop on Thanksgiving Day, or stand in line in the dark before stores open at 5:00 am. I wait until noonish to venture out, if I have a reason for shopping. However those who enjoy Black Friday shopping and make an adventure out of it or create a family tradition around it…you go…and have fun.

My own adventure was precipitated by the need for a new blender. Mixing a fruit smoothie daily, plus additional heavy use since going plant based, has killed off my ancient blender. It was time for a new one. I purposefully waited until today to purchase one, sure I could get a great deal. I was not wrong! With the Black Friday sale at Kohl’s, plus a coupon I had received by mail, plus $30 Kohl’s bucks to spend later, I bought a top of the line $199.99 Ninja Blender for $105.99. I am so excited to create with this awesome kitchen appliance!

Also at Kohl’s I purchased six other items, spending $41.27 for items that normally would have totaled $159.08. My total saving today at Kohl’s: $211.81. That’s awesome…and certainly something to be grateful for. But the best part of being at that store today? Standing in line with positive, joyful people that I had never met before.

I started my shopping at noon. Apparently others had the same idea about beginning later in the day. The store was packed and lines stretched to the back of the store. You know what? If you are going to shop on Black Friday you’d better just be prepared to stand in line and make the best of it. Of the hundreds of people I encountered, I only heard two shoppers complain. Shhhh…they were both males.

The two ladies in front of me in line and the one behind me were of like minds. We decided we might as well have fun while we waited. Our thoughts create our reality. So guess what? We had a blast. We chatted like old friends. We told stories. We held the place in line for each other and took turns darting to displays to pick up something else. I grabbed a sweater in the right size for one of my new friends. She tried it on and asked how she looked. She looked beautiful. The staff at Kohl’s did a great job at managing crowds and had every register open with two sales associates per check out. Cheers to all of them!

The woman in front of me, who had an adorable little daughter with her, shops Black Friday sales out of necessity. Her money goes farther. She can spend less and accomplish more. The woman behind me was elderly. She was purchasing clothing for herself. Same motivation. Her limited funds can do more. This is a yearly event for her, when she buys essentials for herself.

Greg, who had dropped me at the door, came into the store to find me. One of the ladies waved him over and called out, “She’s making new friends!” She was right. Cheers too, to Greg, who had a wonderful cheerful attitude as well and chose to make it a fun afternoon.

Back home, I went online and picked out this little beauty for me, from Boho Style, at a $20 savings. Check it out HERE. This silver feather ring has significance for me, and I was deeply touched that it popped up on my newsfeed today. More about that later. Let me just say this was a playful wink from the Divine.

And then another delightful surprise. I’ve been wanting to order the Ancestry DNA kit and have my DNA tested. I know I am primarily Scottish, Irish and English. Or am I? I can trace my Lauderdale roots back to Lauder, Scotland. But lots of families have married into the Lauderdale line down through the centuries. Where did they originate? I am so excited to get a map of my heritage.

I intended to order the kits last Wednesday, one for me and one for Greg, as our children will then have a complete heritage background. Normally $99 each, the kits were on special for $79. I use a special loadable debit card for online purchases, for security reasons. When I went to load my card Wednesday, the lines were long and I had cooking to do at home. I decided to wait until today to order. Today through Monday…Black Friday through Cyber Monday…the Ancestry DNA kits are reduced to $59 each. I purchased three, including one for my college aged grandson. Savings: $120. More gratitude…more joy…great excitement!

As a bonus, I joined Ancestry.com. I am in the process of transferring the info in my overstuffed-pages falling out-genealogy notebook into Ancestry’s easy to use online family tree system. I am already discovering more valuable info.

What an incredibly fun day. How tender my heart feels for those who dared to shop today, whatever their reasons for doing so. How empathetic I feel towards those working today. I worked Black Fridays in retail for years, alongside Greg and all three of my children. We can tell stories that make listeners laugh, shake their heads…or cry.

Today, I saved a total of $351.81 by shopping Black Friday sales, both in stores and online. Monday is Cyber Monday. I already have items waiting in a shopping cart on Amazon. I expect to save big there too.

And Tuesday? That day is Giving Tuesday, a national day set aside for corporations and individuals to give to the charities and organizations of their choice. It’s a day to make a difference. I participate every year. The money I saved today…and will save Monday…at least part of it will be distributed to several organizations that I support. Saving money on Black Friday let’s me make more of a difference on Giving Tuesday. This year I have a new organization to help people through. I’ll be giving to them in my name and the names of my five grandchildren.

And for that opportunity , I am extremely grateful.