I've somehow let a month and a half go by without writing here. I may have to stretch out a little bit before jumping right back into blogging, otherwise I may pull some important writing muscle.
I was looking forward to Holidailies as a way to get back into regular blogging, but it looks like Holidailies may have been discontinued. I think it was moved to Reddit last year to take some burden off of those running it, but that life support may not have been enough, especially as a lot of us were less-than-thrilled by the new identity of Holidailies over on Reddit. I see that MissMeliss and Kymm are working on blogging daily during the month, so I'll try to commune with them a bit and follow suit.
Our Unitarian church starts has a time early in each service for folks to light a candle of joy or concern (it kind of reminds me of how many approached Meeting For Worship at the Quaker school I loved and left). I'm not really the stand-up-and-light-a-candle sort (I'm more the go-home-and-blog sort!), but if I was, I would have lit a candle of joy (and, for that matter, of concern) about the following:
We're having some work done before moving into a house later this month, and for the painting we hired a professional painter who works on our school's maintenance staff. He came before Thanksgiving and spent the entirety of a couple days painting for us, which made a huge difference in the look and feel of the house, so we had him come back on Saturday to do more painting that hadn't been quite as critical to us but that we decided we'd rather have done than not. He once again spent most of the day working, and when I saw him after lunch to drop off some more paint, I asked him to give me a call when he was about finished with the work.
When he did, I went over to see the work, get back the key we gave him, and pay him for the work. He thanked me profusely for paying him right then and there because someone else who he does work for hadn't paid him on Wednesday as he'd said he would and he didn't really have enough money to make it through the week. He'd had to borrow some just to put gas in his car to get to work. I had no idea that this guy was in these straights, which in some ways made it feel even better to have helped him: it's amazing sometimes that just doing a little thing like paying right away instead of putting it off (I'm sure it wouldn't have been out of line if I'd said "Oh, I'll get the money to you next week," especially since I didn't know until he told me how much I was going to owe him. But by paying him immediately, his weekend and his next week were made appreciably better. But at the same time, it wasn't like charity--he wasn't asking for help (heck, he didn't even ask for the job, we sought him out!) and we weren't "trying to do a good deed."
Widening the frame just a bit, it also feels good to be putting our home improvement dollars into the local community (we also went with a local company for some carpet we had installed). Of course, widening the frame also turns it into a concern as we realize that there are probably lots of people in the community who are living on that same edge, similarly not asking for a handout, and so remaining invisible. We may not have been looking to help, per se, but we were conscious of spending our money locally to the extent that we could, and this experience sure reminded us of the value of doing so.