Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All You Really Need is Love

                I love to read.  In fact, when I was in high school, I got in trouble for reading too much.  My math teacher told my parents that if I didn’t rush through my quizzes just so I could read, I would do much better in her class.  So, I was banned from reading in school with the exception of study hall and lunch. 

                Since I challenged you to think about things to do that are linked to love and the heart, I thought I would open a discussion about putting our loves to good use.  With reading in mind, there are many children out there without books.  Organizations like Bernie’s Book Bank try to bring books to these children.  Recently, while sending a package via UPS, I learned that Toys for Tots isn’t just about toys anymore.  They also have a literacy program, putting books in the hands of children who wouldn’t normally have them due to their family’s economic status.  While I was buying books for my daughter through Scholastic Books, I found out that a dollar donation allows a child stricken by poverty to enjoy a free book.  That’s just three things off the top of my head that deal with one of my greatest loves.

                What do you love to do?  Can you use that love for the common good?  Can you share that love with others?  When you think about it, to help others all you really need is love.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Giving Up Chocolate for Lent

                When I was a kid, every lent I would try to give up chocolate.  I emphasize the word, “try.”  Usually it only lasted a week or two, but sometimes I made it to Easter and spent the day in chocolate ecstasy.  As an adult, I know that’s not the point of giving something up.  In fact, in an article I read recently, the author stated that we should use the money saved by our self-sacrifice to give to the poor.   Hmmm…  That’s a lot of chocolate to keep track of. 

                When I read the article, it reminded me of another article that I read a couple of years ago.  A family started to do something similar.  If they were going to go out to eat, but decided to stay in, they would put the money saved into a charity jar.  Renting a movie instead of going to the movies put a lot of change into the jar.  Making a pizza instead of ordering out was cost efficient and a boon to their chosen charity.  It’s a simple way to help others that shows us how self-sacrifice can be turned into something positive. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

                Happy Valentine’s Day!  I would like to give kudos to the room mom for my daughter’s kindergarten class.  Today of course was the class Valentine’s Day party.  Valentine’s cards were handed out, cupcakes were consumed, and games were played.  It sounds like a typical school Valentine’s Day party, but there was a special craft. 

                Each student made a Valentine.  This Valentine would be delivered to children at the local hospital.  My daughter proudly described how she made her Valentine very pretty with glitter.  I thought it was a great idea and think that her deed should be recognized.  She spread a smile to kids who were stuck in a boring hospital and taught our children how to think of others.  Way to go Mrs. F!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dodging Diapers

                Dodgeball.  It’s a game that is either loved or hated, depending on your skills at evading and aiming.  Personally, I loved the game when I was a youth.  Not only did I have a great arm, but I could catch the ball pretty good too.  I always looked forward to gym class in the hopes that the activity would be dodgeball. 

                My love for the game is probably the reason an article in the newspaper caught my eye while I was visiting my father in law.  The title of the article was "Dodgeball for Diapers."  According to the article, the Catholic schools in the area had a Dodgeball Tournament.  The price of admission was a pack of diapers.  The schools also had internal contests to collect diapers.  All of the diapers raised were donated to a local organization serving underprivileged families. 

                I love this story because I believe that charity should be fun.  These schools found a creative and entertaining way of collecting donations.  And for one day, everyone loved Dodgeball, even the less skilled because it was being played for a good cause. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

All You Have to Do is Ask

                My daughter was thrilled when we told her Saturday morning that she was fever free for twenty four hours, which meant that we could visit her grandpa.  She had a great time handing flowers and valentines out to the residents of his assisted living home.  I don’t know who had more fun, her or the residents. 

While I was sitting with my father-in-law, I noticed one of the residents reaching out to a table.  I wasn’t sure what she was reaching for, but a care giver noticed and asked her if she wanted Max.  The resident nodded and her face lit up as the care giver handed her the stuffed animal that sat on the table.  It was a cute dog and I watched her hug it lovingly.  I was touched by the sight so much that I asked my husband if he thought they would take some of the stuffed animals that were threatening to take over our daughter’s room.  He replied, “All we can do is ask.” Then he promptly walked over to the office to ask the head nurse.  She was thrilled at the prospect as she told my husband that they give out stuffed animals as prizes for the residents.

Many times in life we have great ideas that die because we’re too afraid to ask.  I have to say that I’m not immune to that fear.  If you noticed, my husband was the one that asked the nurse.  Every time I bring baked goods to the day center for the homeless, I fear I will be turned away, but every time, I am welcomed.  The point is, don’t be afraid to ask.  Most people will be delighted that you cared enough to offer help of some kind. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Heart of a Child

                My daughter cried last night when I told her that we couldn’t visit her grandpa this weekend.  In my defense, she has a fever and a sore throat.  She is mostly upset because we spent a week making flowers out of tissue paper to bring with us.  She was looking forward to handing them out to the residents of the assisted living where her grandfather stays.  It was going to be an early Valentines present.  Making these flowers is easy for a child to do and so is making people smile. 

                I like the fact that children can effortlessly make someone smile.   Children know that even the smallest things matter.  Ironically, we are the ones that taught them this lesson.  This month, let’s follow our hearts instead of our brains. Let’s give with the ease of children and remember that no act is too small.  Even a tissue paper flower will brighten someone’s day. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fountain of Youth

                I’m sorry, if my title misleads.  I’m not here to talk about a magical spring which makes you young.  Although, I’ve been told by many that volunteering does keep you young.  Today’s post talks about the “Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, which awards young volunteers up to ten thousand dollars for college.  Nominations are accepted for students ages 6 to 18 until March 15.  Yes, there will probably be quite a few nominations and the competition will be tough.  But I take this as a good thing.  I’d like the nominations to pour into Kohl’s like a fountain…a fountain of youth. 

                I know there are many young men and women, boys and girls out there who are giving their time and energy to help people in their communities.  If you know of a young volunteer that you would like to be recognized, please google “Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program,” and nominate away! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Have a Heart This Month

                January’s finished and the challenge to think of those who are isolated is over.  This month, I challenge you to think of things that are related to the subject of love, or the heart.  Yes, I know, it’s not very creative of me.  After all, this is the month of Valentine’s Day.  But, next month will be more difficult, so I chose an easy one this month. 

                To get you started, I will make you groan as I suggest that you think, “hearty.”  Get it heart, hearty.  All right, maybe it’s lame.   It’s chilly outside making it a good time to eat things that will stick to your ribs as it were – something hearty.  So, when you go grocery shopping, consider picking up one of the following items for your local food pantry:  Canned Chili, Hamburger Helper, Macaroni and Cheese, Chunky Soup, Dinty Moore Beef Stew.  I’m sure if you think about it; you can come up with even more great ideas. 

Have a heart and think, “hearty.”