Yesterday I received some happy news that made me feel that my #joyfulgiving project was worthwhile! Have you ever felt like giving was more exciting than receiving? If so, you will relate.
Here comes the bride
Congratulations to my friend, Tracey, and her husband, Bruce, on their COVID quarantine wedding. Doesn’t she look fabulous?
Tracey is a former work colleague, who has come along to my clothes swaps more than once. The first time she came, I was the lucky recipient of a number of her amazing outfits. I waltzed into work the day after the clothes swap wearing one of her (former) dresses. I felt amazing! It was as if that little black corporate number had always belonged to me.
We are a similar height, and a similar shape, which explains why I have done so well from her clothes swapping. And when she reached out two weeks’ ago asking if I had any shoes that she could borrow to wear at her wedding, my answer was ‘of course’.
We got to talking on FB messenger more and I asked about her dress and what style she was going for. “Oh, it’s in the post and it should come soon,” she said.
“Ah, would you like to try on mine, you know, just in case yours doesn’t arrive?” I offered. I loved my bought-in-Antwerp satin wedding dress, although we didn’t really have space to store it in our apartment. It had been hanging up next to our window, and at times it’s kind of freaky as it looks like a person hanging there.
Tracey came over and (in a social distance appropriate way) I gave her the shoes, the dress, and a necklace (to borrow) that I had bought myself for my (first) marriage. A few days later she sent me a photo – the dress was a perfect fit! But I still didn’t know then if she was going to wear it on the day, or whether she would choose her other dress.
And then today, I got a Facebook message from a friend of mine. She sent me a series of photos – of Tracey at her wedding, glowing and beautiful in that dress! It turned out that my friend was the marriage celebrant. What a coincidence!
When my Nana and Grandfather got married in the 1940s, it was wartime and money was tight for a lot of brides. My Nan got married in a borrowed gown. “Most brides didn’t have money for gowns then,” she said.
Wedding gowns are so beautiful. They are something that a lot of thought goes into. Even if they’re not white, or lace, and even if they don’t have a veil, they carry ritual and meaning. They transform a woman into a beautiful bride. It doesn’t matter if she is thin, fat, tall, short, young or old, when a woman puts on her wedding gown, dress or suit she transforms. There’s that glow that a bride has of being happily in love. (At least, that’s how I felt.)
Today was one of those days when I looked at my friend and I felt so incredibly happy that things that brought me joy have brought her joy as well. My #joyfulgiving366 project was conceived to do just that – rather than throwing things out if I didn’t want them, as I minimalised I wanted things that I owned to bring joy to people around me. And what better way than this? Please send my friend Tracey a comment of love if you agree.
Jigsaw doing the rounds
Jigsaw swapping is continuing. We’re still working on our latest 1,000 piece that my neighbour lent me. It’s a beautiful, made-in-Europe quality set – something that would usually be above my budget. It’s also harder than it looks. While flushed with some initial success, it is now taking us longer than I expected. But it’s also fun – my 7-year-old has unexpectedly developed an interest in it. Well, sometimes. I can’t claim that when have totally distracted him from his computer games.
I gave away our 750-piece jigsaw puzzle based on a scenic picture of Sifnos in Greece. It is such a beautiful photo, and meaningful to be putting together poppies on ANZAC Day. But those poppies drove us spare! Red upon red upon red. I put it up on my Buy Nothing group and someone came to claim it a few days afterwards. [N.B. I just realised that many of the scenes of the movie Mamamia were shot in Sifnos. I think we’re going to have to go and visit there someday. What a beautiful place!]
And the 1,000 piece (well, technically 999 as one piece is missing) jigsaw puzzle I gave to the trumpet player last week has its own karma. The trumpet player and her flatmate have completed that puzzle, and gifted it to the person who was NIL (next in line) on the Buy Nothing group.
I also gifted a high-frequency words bingo game in our Buy Nothing group. I discovered it when searching through the boys room, thought about using it with my boys but they are probably a bit beyond it now. We’ve got so many ‘educational’ games there and funnily enough we don’t always get around to things! Again, I gave it away to someone in my Buy Nothing group who picked it up the next morning.
The lady I gave the frequent word bingo too received a sourdough starter from me earlier this year. I’d almost forgotten to be honest, as I’ve given so many away. But she messaged me (in the context of the bingo) to say that it is still going well, and that she’s been really enjoying sourdough baking.
And then a guy I gave sourdough to last week messaged me to share photos of his sourdough baking. Wow what he baked looks fabulous!
To round out the trifecta, my writing friend, Jen, also shared a blog post about her amazing River Cottage sourdough baking experience and it is clear she is fully into sourdough baking now.
I’m excited the starter is going so well. I’m also secretly pleased for another reason – it’s my own insurance policy in case my own starter ever dies😊
COVID-19 containment and visiting inlaws
I’m typing this at the kitchen table at my inlaws property. “But aren’t you in lockdown?” I can hear you thinking?
A few days ago, the Australian Capital Territory announced it is the first state or territory in Australia to free of known COVID-19 cases. Yep, great cause for celebration!
And then yesterday, the Chief Minister announced easing of a few restrictions. This included being allowed to visit family (including being able to travel across the border into New South Wales), and being able to shop for non-essentials.
We therefore bundled the kids up and took them out to visit Nan and Pop – stopping en route at a local shopping centre for some supplies and quick trip to Big W to buy new undies and socks for my boys.
The trip felt a bit like an outing. Going shopping used to be our regular weekend thing, but we hadn’t been out shopping as a family for around six weeks or more. While we didn’t linger and we maintained social distancing, it was a good feeling to be ‘let out’ to explore.
Now that we are (thankfully) in a good place in terms of getting a handle on COVID-19 – and being mindful of not celebrating too soon to avoid a second wave – I’m now feeling more relaxed about giving more items. I’d been limiting myself to occasional giving to help people in my community out (e.g. sourdough starter, jigsaw puzzles and home learning things), but I am now more confident about extending my gifting. Watch this space for more (contactless) giving.
For this weekend, we’ve managed to give a few more things to my inlaws including a loaf of sourdough bread and 6 forks (of a particular brand they like).
- Cream satin wedding dress
- Cream shoes
- White gold diamond necklace (on loan)
- 750 piece jigsaw puzzle of Sifnos, Greece
- High frequently word bingo
- 6 x forks
Have you ever gifted a dress or outfit to someone that brought them joy?
The dress is beautiful and it is so special you were able to share it with a friend. Now you both have memories linked to that dress.
Sharing puzzles around is a great idea, especially at the moment. I hope this practice continues after this pandemic as well.
Keep up the giving, I’m enjoying reading how you are connecting this way.
Dear Miss Balance,
Thank you so much. I was so excited that my friend wore the dress! It’s weird how giving can sometimes bring even more joy than receiving (or buying things!)
I’ve got some more jigsaw puzzle karma coming to share … lined up but hasn’t yet picked up.
And thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I’m learning so much through this year about the ‘stuff’ in my life.