Recipe: Love Wins!

“Love is the force that transforms and improves the face of the world.”

-Paulo Cohelo

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Last night was the culmination of a weeklong competition I was hosting on social media called #LOVEfest.  I wrote about it already on here last week, but wanted to just share a few thoughts about it.  A sort of debriefing or re-entry after one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.  In fact, last night after my final snap on snapchat when I announced the winners, I broke down in tears.

Don’t fret, they were tears of joy actually.  And playing some of Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”  as my background music probably helped the tears flow like the rain in Simba’s pride’s final battle in the The Lion King.  It is just that in light of what has happened in the world the last few days since I wrote my original post about the lovefest, now more than ever I suppose people are re-evalutating things in the world.  And certainly when looking at the quote at the very top, what is the face of the world today?

With hundreds of entries in this competition it was easy to pick out who would win two of the three prizes.  With a prize going to the first entry I received, that was simple enough.  The hard part was not letting on who it was!  Even the prize for most entries by one person was straight forward, it was just down to counting.  However there were a few people who were literally on fire sending me multiple images every day of the competition.  So it was close!   I was delighted as it made me see how excited people were at finding love and hearts in their world.  Even in the most unsuspecting of places.  However it was the prize for best image that had me in a conundrum.  How could I choose?  Like a parent deciding which child they loved best?  So I had an epiphany that I should put all the names in a hat and draw one out during my live snapchat announcement.

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Of course we had to have a last minute “pump up pep talk” with the help of my pretty pit Stella

As 9pm on 15/11/15 was drawing near, the images were flying in fast and furious.  And beautiful heartfelt notes along with them saying that, especially since the Paris terrorist attacks, this was indeed something to help them take their pain and put it into a positive. The irony is that I never actually stated what the winning prizes were going to be.  I have hosted several competitions before, and my Hubby thinks that my followers knew they would get a good prize so they didn’t worry.  But it was almost as if the prize was irrelevant. In fact on my birthday this past Friday I received from all of them so many good wishes, birthday cards and in fact even gifts from my followers.  My heart was so full it was about to burst.  And along with all those participating in the competition, we agreed, that though we can’t change the whole world, by planting seeds of love where we stand maybe love will grow beyond our immediate environment.

I announced the winner for first snap to NIAMH.  Her entry, which she literally sent to me on snapchat within moments after I posted the competition, was of a head of broccoli.  Ooh I personally love me some broccoli!  And though it did have a heart shape, she emphasized it even more by adding some snapchat animation to it with a LOVEly red heart!

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Then I announced the winner for most snaps to Jan.  She had sent me in a week’s time  seventy five images of hearts and LOVE in her world. This was astonishing considering the fact that for some of it she was traveling and didn’t have wifi access.  She had so many amazing snaps but one stood out in particular. It was quite funny because of it’s unlikely location and also that she hadn’t noticed it before.  A heart at the bottom of the fire blanket box in her apartment building.

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Finally I drew a name, not from a hat, but from a heart box of mine that has been with me for quite some time.  I put all the names on paper, folded them up and gave the heart a shake.  Which is what literally happened to me this week.  My heart was shaken to its core with all the LOVE that flowed in from Ireland, America and the U.K.  The name I pulled out was Sheeners15!  I remembered one of her many entries because I don’t think I ever noticed the heart on the Pink Lady Apple sticker before, and I eat them all the time.  So you see how much the participants were opening my eyes as well?

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I made a brief (because I was weepy) congratulatory speech to the winners and all the participants and told them it had been an honor to host such a special contest.  And of course I encouraged them to keep spreading the love.  By creating and finding these heart and love images, they are reinforcing the fact that behind the visual reminders is what it is all about…..LOVE!  Since it is love that features in my cooking (my secret ingredient) and indeed visually, as the letters in my home are visible to all when I do my snapchat cooking demos, I feel passionately about promoting my beloved purpose in life.

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I received news back from the winners with their addresses so I could send off their winning care packages.  They were over the moon!  As well I received amazing notes from people who didn’t win but thanked me for doing it as they shared how much they loved the competition. People even sent snaps congratulating the other winners! Wow!

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So you see, social media can be used in a positive way.  I have met all these folks through snapchat, twitter and instagram and have witnessed firsthand the kindness of strangers.  I have seen people competing in a fair and friendly way.  I have seen those who may have “lost” but still praise the winners and share their gratefulness for simply being part of the game.  And it makes me realize that we can make a positive difference in this world, because no matter how big or small, a positive will always outweigh a negative!  Because LOVE wins!

Love & Hearts,

YDP

ps. I think it is ironic that the week I started this competition Twitter decided to change from using stars as a way to “favorite” a tweet to using hearts!  Oh, it was controversial, but it was a LOVEable choice!  Good one Twitter!

Here is just a small sampling of the #LOVEfest images sent to me this week…..

Several folks found LOVE in their cooking

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Some found it in the clouds

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Some found it in their coffee

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And of course mommies found it in their kids

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Even siblings found some LOVE

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Loads found LOVE with their pets

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And some found LOVE in nature

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Some even found it on their clothes without previously noticing, including me and my scarf!

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Lots of LOVE on toys

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Some found it in their lunch

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Some found it in their treats

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And then we have the fabulous Cheerios Heart! Which even rivals the other cereal heart found here if you click on my twitter.

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People were looking up high (as in a wall shelf) and looking down low (as on the ground)

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And some used their LOVEfest snaps as a way to show solidarity

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And like me, people used hearts and LOVE to be inspired everyday!

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Two of my fav #LOVEfest images came from #bffs (best friends forever) as their separate snaps showed that like love it takes two, a give and receive, a reciprocal representation of love in action!  Right, so I just did all that philosophical analysis over a heart shaped sambo they made!  LOL!  But when you’re on a LOVE roll you just do that sort of thing!

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Oh wait, you’re thinking to yourself the title says “Recipe:  Love Wins!” which means there should be a recipe, right? HELLOOOOO! The recipe is clear, concise and you can go forth in confidence. Spread love my friends!  That’s it!  Wherever, whenever and however! xoxo

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