Category: Home & Crafts

Smitten With You

We cover a lot of ground at the House of Shine.

One day we might talk about finding your purpose, another day might be focused on balance or using your strengths, and still another could either be reflection on Highs, Lows, and Ahas, or the tale of my weekly experience with DO52™.

And while you may or may not see the connections, to me what each of those topics has in common is that they are about being your best self - about shining your way through life by creating moments and by being present in the moments that are given to you.

Today's post is about a simple moment my boys and I created for our terrific homework helper, Sandy. Sandy enthusiastically picks Matthew and Jack up from school every day and brings them home to oversee the boys doing homework. But along the way Sandy does so much more. She surprises them with occasional treats, plays games with them, cheers them on when the homework is frustrating, and supports them by showing interest in their outside activities and entrepreneurial dreams.

So yesterday we decided to turn the tables and surprise Sandy with a small holiday treat. With only 12 days left until school gets out, we created a countdown-to-Christmas, featuring "Twelve Reasons We Are (S)Mitten With You!"

Each mitten is cut from holiday paper and contains a small note inside revealing something specific that the boys appreciate about Sandy. Each of them wrote six. We strung the mittens together on fluffy white garland, and used small clothespins to hang them.

Day One was a hit as Jack, my first-grader revealed that one of the reasons he is smitten with Sandy is because, "You help me become a better reader."

The idea strikes me as fun holiday surprise for students to give a teacher, one partner to give to another, or a team to present to their coach.

Shining is about using your life to improve the lives of others. Sometimes that's as simple as making and sharing a holiday craft.


Posted on 12/5/2014 4:00 AM By Claudia In: [Holidays], [Home & Crafts]

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DO52: Crystal Clear

You know the way solving a hangman puzzle is harder to do with only one letter revealed than it is when you have two or three?

Well, sometimes the same is true of DO52.

DO52 is, in a sense, a puzzle. You select your weekly verb from our collection and then spend the week seeking to understand what you can learn or gain by doing what it suggests.

Sometimes, though interpreting the verb is harder to do when it stands alone. Life is moving along in such a way that the chosen verb, when by itself, doesn't provide enough context. It doesn't speak to you.

That happened to me two weeks ago with the verb REQUEST.

So last week I selected another verb - EXCITE - and all of a sudden the verb REQUEST came into sharper focus and took on new meaning.

My attention immediately moved to a request that I have been excited to make, but, because of time, have been putting off.

It was the request for dimes.

Over the summer Matthew and Jack made small bowls at a pottery studio so we could request that select family and friends fill them with dimes. You see, we make an annual donation of dimes to a local Rotary Club and each year we get more and more ambitious about the size of the jar we are hoping to fill. When we designated our new jar last spring,we quickly determined that the only way we would be successful this year is if we requested help. For more background to our annual donation, click here.

So we used last week to ship off bowls to four friends who we knew would be excited about pitching in.

The boys were also excited to make a request of their classmates, so last week the combination of DO52 verbs prompted me to finally make arrangements with their teachers for a date when each of them can make presentations in class.

Would I be pushing it if I made one more request?

If you have a small bowl and you're willing to participate, we'd be really excited. Once it's full, contact me and I'll tell you where to send your dimes.

And, call it fate or call it a coincidence, but I just drew next week's verb and it's…


I don't think the message gets any clearer than that!

Posted on 9/8/2014 4:00 AM By Claudia In: [Home & Crafts], [Inspiration]

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