Tag Archives: Generosity

The Spider and the Butterfly

Early one morning, Stella the spider decided she needed a new web. She had been using her old one for over two weeks now and it was looking a bit ragged. The recent rainy weather and latest bugs caught destroyed more sections than she cared to fix. A fresh start would be fun and reviving. She finished off the rest of her food and had a nice drink of water so she would be energized for her task. Then she began to work.

On a nearby bush, Tyrone the butterfly was just waking up from his metamorphosis. His chrysalis was beginning to crack and open. Soon, he was able to spread his brand-new wings for the very first time. They were purple and green and a little fuzzy. He thought they were beautiful and couldn’t wait to try flying with them.

Stella was busy, busy, busy spinning, spinning, spinning her intricate web. She paid a lot of attention to the construction so it would be strong.

Tyrone wasn’t very good at flying just yet. He was dipping and flipping and making turns that surprised even him. He was going to need more practice.

Just as Stella was finishing up a corner of her new web, Tyrone flew by and stumbled right into it, ripping it down from between the sturdy branches where Stella had been working. Her web had been strong, but not strong enough to survive a crash with a fully grown butterfly.

Tyrone landed in a heap on the soft moss that covered the ground. Stella was jostled from her perch and she, too, went tumbling to the ground and landed next to Tyrone. Tyrone’s fuzzy wings were covered in the silky, sticky webbing that had just been part of Stella’s beautiful creation.

She was stunned for a moment, surprised to find herself on the ground, a string of webbing still connected her to her web up above. She shook her head in surprise, and when finding her bearings, spotted Tyrone.

“You!” She shouted.

Tyrone looked up at the spider and was immediately filled with guilt.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to ruin your web. I didn’t mean to disrupt you at all. I’m new to flying, see? And I’m not very good at it yet. I didn’t have control there for a moment.”

Stella took a deep breath to calm herself. “I am very upset that my new web is ruined. I’ve been working very hard on it all day.”

“I’m sorry,” Tyrone said again. He wiggled and twisted to remove the silky web from his wings, but it stuck in places. “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Stella sighed. “No, I’m afraid not. Only a spider can spin her own web. I’ll just have to start all over again.”

“You… you’re not going to eat me, are you?” Tyrone asked.

“Oh, no,” Stella laughed. “I don’t eat butterflies.”

“Oh,” Tyrone looked relieved. “I’m glad to hear that. Do you know the best way for me to get this web off of my wings?”

“Hmm,” Stella said. “Probably just a good fly around. The wind should help blow it off. And anything else will be washed away with the next rain.”

“Thank you,” said Tyrone. “Thank you for the advice, even though I ruined your web.”

Stella sighed again. “It was a lot of work. I am very disappointed it’s gone. But there isn’t anything else to be done about it now. I just have to start working again.”

“I’m sorry,” Tyrone said again.

“I appreciate your apology,” Stella said. “But now I should be getting back to work.”

Tyrone nodded as Stella started to climb the thin thread of her web back up into the branches.

“Oh, I know how you can help,” Stella said as she paused her ascent.

“How?” Tyrone asked, eagerly fluttering his wings.

“You can practice, practice, practice your flying,” she said. Tyrone smiled. “Keep practicing until you are an expert flyer who won’t crash into and destroy my web again.” Stella smiled, too.

“I will,” Tyrone said. “And I’ll be extra careful to keep a wide berth around you and your web.”

Stella climbed up to continue spinning her web again.

Tyrone jumped up to continue his spinning flight again.

They lived on, near each other, in peace.

 

The End

Milo & Mira and the Lost Bunny – A Short Story

One of Milo and Mira’s favorite places to play outside was a little area behind the lake in their town. It was next to the boat ramp, had picnic tables and grills, and lots of little trails to walk.

One day, when Milo and Mira were exploring this little patch of forest, they stumbled upon a tiny baby bunny, all alone. They knew that the bunny was too small to be on its own so they figured it had gotten separated from its family and was lost.

“Oh no! This bunny is too small to survive on its own. We need to help it,” Mira said.

She leaned in like she was going to pick the little bunny up, but Milo stopped her. “I learned in school recently that humans shouldn’t touch wild animals, especially babies, if they can help it.”

Mira stood up. “Why not?”

“If we touch that bunny, it will smell like us – like humans. Then, if we find its family, they will smell human, not the baby bunny, and be too scared to go near it.”

“Oh. So they would just leave it?” Mira asked.

Milo shrugged. “Maybe. So it’s best if we don’t touch it.”

“Hmm… What should we do then?” Mira asked as she and Milo looked down at the little bunny. It was tucked into a small little ball, twitching its nose, and shaking. “It looks really scared.”

“I would be scared, too, if I was lost,” Milo said.

The two children thought for a while about how they could help the little bunny.

“Let’s see if we can find its family,” Mira suggested.

Milo agreed and they set off to search the small wooded area for a big mama or papa bunny looking for her or his lost baby. They decided to split up – Mira taking the north side of the main trail and Milo taking the south side – because they thought they would be able to cover more ground faster that way.

Mira didn’t bother looking in the water because she knew bunnies didn’t swim very often, especially if they had a new family.

Milo checked under all of the picnic tables and even in the disused grills.

Mira checked the bushes. It took a long time because there were a lot of thick bushes behind the lake.

Milo was also checking some bushes near a group of trees when he spotted an old log lying on the ground. He thought that might be a good place for some bunny rabbits to live. He crouched down very quietly and peered in the hole at the end of the log. Sure enough, there was one big bunny with three more baby bunnies huddled inside!

A huge grin spread across Milo’s face. He backed away from the log, slowly and quietly, and then ran to go find Mira.

“Mira! Mira! I found them!” He yelled as he reached Mira.

A huge grin spread across Mira’s face, too. “That’s excellent! Now how to we get the baby bunny back to its family?”

“Remember, we shouldn’t touch it with our bare hands,” Milo said.

They took a moment to think.

“What if we used some sort of basket?” Mira suggested.

“We don’t have a basket,” Milo said. “And if we got one from home, that would smell like humans, too.”

“Do you think we could make one?” Mira asked.

“Let’s try it,” Milo agreed.

They gathered some small, bendy sticks and reeds and a pile of nice, soft leaves. They helped each other to weave the sticks and reeds together. They couldn’t figured out how to weave the sides up so they ended up with more of a tray than a basket. There were a lot of gaps, too, so they spread out the leaves to make a sort of bed for the bunny to sit on without falling through.

Milo held the makeshift tray with both of his hands underneath, very carefully. They walked back to where they had originally found the little lost bunny and were relieved to find that it was still there. Very slowly and carefully, they scooped up the little bunny onto the tray. Mira had to help push it on a little bit, but she held big leaves in her hands so her skin wouldn’t touch the bunny. It was very skittish, but once they got it on the tray, it curled up very small again and hunkered down, shaking.

“Follow me,” Milo said as they started walking to the log where he had found the bunny family. They walked very, very slowly and very, very carefully so they wouldn’t drop or upset the little lost bunny.

When they got to the log, Milo pointed it out to Mira. She helped him keep the tray steady as he knelt down in front of the hole. The little bunny lifted its head and started sniffly around excitedly. Then, before Milo and Mira had gotten the tray all the way to the ground, the little lost bunny hopped down off the tray and landed awkwardly in the soft grass. Then it bounded right into the hole of the log.

Milo and Mira quickly looked at each other with a surprised, “Oh!” Then they crouched down as quickly as they could while still being really quiet and peer in the hole.

The little bunny had hopped right up to the big bunny, who was now snuggly the little bunny close. The big bunny’s and all four of the little baby bunnies’ noses were twitching like crazy. Luckily, none of them seemed alarmed that the lost bunny smelled like humans. Instead, they all looked very happy and excited to be all together again, especially the little lost bunny.

Milo and Mira stood up and backed away. They looked at each other and smiled. They had helped the lost bunny get back to the safety and comfort of its family.

Without needing to say anything, they were both ready to go home and spend some quality time with their own families.

 

The End

Why I Write

I started reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott yesterday and it got me thinking about why I write.

She mentions a few other authors answering that question with “Because I want to” and “Because I’m good at at”. I write a lot so I guess I want to. And I’ve been told I’m good at it (albeit, mostly by my mother). But those answers don’t quite grasp why I write.

After thinking about it, I realized that I write simply because I like it.

It’s true that sometimes my writing confidence falters and I doubt myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m not very full of stories at all. But I am. They’re just not all brimming at the surface. It’s just the matter of whether I want to do the hard, time-consuming work of digging down to them or just hang out and wait for them to float to the top.

Mostly I have fun writing. I enjoy writing different formats at different times, in different places, about different things. I like writing novels and blog-posts and journal entries and lists and short stories and sometimes even poetry. I enjoy writing deep things. And I enjoy writing silly things that pretty much amount to nothing at all. I usually don’t worry very much about it being very good, at least not a first — I just trust my voice.

I would like to make money from my writing — by being published, for example — but it’s not why I write. So I realized it doesn’t fit for me to sit on my stories, hoarding them because they may not be copyrighted and I feel like I won’t get my just due for them unless/until I get them properly published. Like, “This is my work, I should be paid for it!” Because really I feel like, “This is my writing, I want people to read it!”

I write because I have stories to tell, stories to share. So write and share I will. Because I want to. Because I’m good at it. Because I like it.

Some Thoughts on Minimal Privilege

About a year ago, I wrote about increasing satisfaction through deprivation. I tried my best to turn a difficult situation into something from which to learn and grow. I wanted to feel good about a state of lack and so I decided to be appreciative.

Last night, the blower on our furnace broke down. We had no heat, save for a small space heater we borrowed to keep the children’s bedroom warm (Andrew and I piled on blankets to stay warm while we slept), while a snow storm blew outside.
During the day, with the snow falling harder, the space heater actually did a pretty good job of keeping the house warm while we waited for an available HVAC technician to come take a look at our furnace. The temperature in the house never even dipped below 60°F.
As we endured this slight inconvenience, I kept thinking about what I wrote about in my Increasing Satisfaction Through Deprivation post and I didn’t feel as comfortable with it. I mean, I think it still has its merits, but since I read a guest post on Becoming Minimalist about Minimal Privilege, I just haven’t been able to think about it in the same way.
All of us are permitted to have our own feelings and experiences. My experiences are not less valid because someone else experiences something harder. But being aware of what others may be going through is a powerful concept. I feel less flippant about using deprivation as a tool — using my privilege to choose how and when to deprive myself — when it is a real life struggle for some people.
I sometimes feel bogged down by our debt, but I don’t really have to worry about having enough food for my family or having the electric cut off or being able to keep the family warm enough. We are quite fortunate and it will serve me well to remember that.
It’s also good for me to remember that others may not be as fortunate as myself so I can do what I can to help, whether that be by donating to charities, helping a friend, or by being more mindful during conversations.

Home For The Holidays – The Hope Effect

A couple of the things that I am most thankful for — perhaps even the thing (or 2 things) I am most thankful for — is my home and family. Especially when it’s cold outside and it seems like all the world is getting together for the holidays, I notice how lucky I am to have the home and family that I do.

Since becoming a minimalist, I’ve asked for nothing as a gift for the holidays (in my family’s case, it’s Christmas). I must admit I haven’t had must success with my extended family when it comes to this blatant rejection of what has become a social norm. So this year I’ve decided to try a little something different.

This year, I’ve set up a fundraising page to help build small family-style homes for orphans and I’m asking all of my friends, family, and you readers to donate. I’m hoping to raise $500 before December 26, but really any amount is wonderful. People have already donated so I already feel like a success!

You can click to read about the charity, The Hope Effect.

You can click to learn about the campaign, Home for the Holidays.

And you can click to view my fundraising page — and donate!

No pressure, though.

And remember, it doesn’t have to be #GivingTuesday to give.

I hope everyone is feeling warm and snug and loved. And I hope that everyone knows that buying more stuff won’t make you feel more loved — you must first be loving.