Tag Archives: community

It’s really simple, but it’s hard.

My house the night of the fire

My house the night of the fire

Some readers follow me on the social network scene may know that there was a fire at my house last month.

News coverage of fire at my house

My meditation brought me to the place in the Christian Bible, which says “Ye shall know them by their fruit.” and my fruit was pretty good. Because although something bad, scary, completely unfair and wrong happened to me. I was okay, no one was hurt, and I was able to go on thinking in a positive and healthy way about the situation. Now I can share with you what I learned.

Worry. When something happens that is scary, wrong, unfair, and often completely unexpected, a person can take this as an opportunity to worry the rest of their life away. Now here comes the simple, but really hard part about life, especially life after tragedy… (drum-roll please) Are you ready to take notes? Ok here it is…. Live in the moment. Live in right now.

Oh man! How many times have you heard that before? It even comes on cheesy little plaques and everything. The thing is, it’s true. It’s exactly true. And here is another little bit that came to me and this is how it goes:

Several years ago my high school Psychology teacher Mr. Mason asked us a very important question “If something really bad happens to you, how much of your life are you willing to give to it?” I am not willing to give my entire life to something that happened in 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, 1 day, or 1 year. If the bad incident is actually happening in that period, then it is happening and it is out of a person’s control. The question is how much EXTRA beyond the time it took to happen are you willing to give the incident?

This is something a person has to ask themselves BEFORE a bad thing happens, so that when the fear, anxiety, anger flares up inside, when you are human it will flare up inside. The mental mechanism is there to say, “I won’t let it have any more of my life.” Take a deep breath and go back to now. Now is work. Now is hugging my kids. Now is enjoying a beautiful day. Now is doing the dishes. Whatever Now is I go back there and time moves on and things get easier, maybe not easier all the time, however life goes on I survive and even thrive with planned moments of happiness. This is how, despite bad things happening I can still live a satisfying life.

Planned moments of happiness is something I’ll talk about next time.

I wish you all the optimum of happiness in your experience.

Until next time…


“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Volunteering. The ability to be the answer to someone else’s prayer. The ability to do something about those insurmountable problems that communities often face can be a very empowering and satisfying thing to do with your time. There is a power in taking on poverty, crime, blight, sadness and desperation and easing it for someone if only in a small way, can have a huge impact.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the bad news of the day. So much of it is spoon-fed to us through the media. It might be true that the entire problem of poverty cannot be cured overnight, there are things that each individual can do to ease the suffering others feel in turn it is a powerful and somewhat addictive feeling to know that you played a part in making the world a happier and more fair place to be in.

This time of year with children going back to school there are needs in many communities for school supplies to help low-income children have the tools they need to learn and better themselves. When children have the tools they need and positive support from their community, it makes the community a better place. It gives that child hope and higher aspirations to aim for as they grow into adulthood. People who take the time to have an impact on a child’s life can not only be a major inspiration for that child, it is often said by mentors that they feel they get more out of it because they have a healthy and joy-filled relationship with the strong souls that are the children of low-income families. It is a blessing to allow them some time to able to be children.

Our elders are another group that can benefit from a little care and companionship. I remember as a schoolgirl we would go to the retirement home down the street from our elementary school at least once a month to visit. The lady I would meet with was a retired teacher. I would make her laugh and she would teach me how to say things in Latin. Although that was many years ago, I remember her she always had an impact on me. Because both of my grandmothers lived very far away and her family had to live farther away for work as well, we were a good match.  I was able to bring her some happiness while her family was away and she gave me that grandmotherly experience I might not have been able to have if not for her. It was a win-win scenario. So whether delivering meals for people with limited mobility, driving people to their doctors appointments, or simply visiting and helping out one can have a very satisfying experience volunteering.

There are so many ways to give back to community. You don’t have even have to stretch too far out of your comfort zone, just pick something that feels good to you. Coaching youth sports, helping out at the animal shelter, making calls for a politician that you believe in, working in a community garden, donating blood, teaching people while they incarcerated so they can have a better chance at success when they return back to society. There are so many ways to give so many who need help military and their families are another great group to support. So find your place, find your passion, do something, no one can do everything but they can do something.

“What’s in it for me?”, some people want to know. I find that when volunteering many people are able to form wonderful relationships with other great and giving people. I highly recommend volunteering to single people with time on their hands. It’s a better place to meet people than bars. If you are new to a community, it is a good way to begin to be involved in the community and build relationships and feel connected. Giving back and being part of the solution to life’s big problems is a very important part of self-empowerment in order to live a satisfying life. Who knows you might even have fun!

Ways you can get involved:
American Red Cross
Feeding America
United Way
United We Serve

The joy of volunteering.

T is for Tithing


The twentieth part of the A-Z series T is for Tithing.

Yes it is a risk to talk about Tithing. Many people shut down at the thought of it. Especially anyone who grew up amongst the televangelist scandals of the 1980’s. For those unfamiliar with the term tithing is the act of giving 10% of your total annual income to a church in order for them to run the church and provide valuable social services. Although church attendance is down the need for tithing is still a vital part of living in a civilized society and as such we must find ways to continue this important practice.

Times have changed and many individuals no longer attend church. In this case I recommend donating the 10% to a cause or a few causes that you are passionate about. Whether it be the arts, social services helping people in need more specifically children or the elderly, health issues or if you prefer you can give to a local foundation, community group, animal rescue or any of the many worthy non-profit groups that do good work for many worthy causes. The important part is to be able to provide these hard-working groups with the consistent financial stability they crave to be able to budget and focus resources to perform their important work.

Some causes that often are underfunded that need money are transitional programs for children who have turned 18 years of age and are no longer eligible for the foster care program. They are often left to desperate options in order to survive not given adequate time, resources or education to become financially self-sufficient.

Another great cause is to help those transitioning from prison. People who are charged with a felony and have served their time come out into the world facing the challenge of having a more difficult time becoming employed and therefore given the means to provide for their family in a legal manner. Programs which help to mentor ex-offenders and help transition them into a positive societal role help dramatically in keeping them from falling back into toxic relationships and give them a path to be productive members of a community and keep them out of jail.

Veterans comprise another group often underfunded for their many needs. Programs to help them transition from the very different world of war back to civilian life can help many veterans. In addition to their needs regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the various challenges both physical and otherwise that are a result of answering the call to protect our country in war. The challenges faced by warriors and their families are many and they could use the financial help to run some very good programs and make them available to more people.

These are just a few causes yet there is so much need and it can be for whatever your interest is supporting your local little league, music programs, feeding the elderly, supporting a local animal shelter, whatever your interest.

Some people have much more time than money. In this case a person can tithe their time. To help support local causes and improve their community. Everyone has something to contribute. It is through tithing, through sacrifice that a person can feel a connection to something bigger than they are alone. They can feel the amazing feeling of purpose and contribution.

In addition, there is a unique opportunity to make the world better and do something about all the challenges and frustrations we see in the world. This is a great gift not only to those who receive, it is also a benefit for those who give. It’s powerfully empowering and a hope filled feeling that can become addictive especially when working with well run agencies that are accountable and show results. Each person especially when coming together with others of vision, passion and focused action really can make a difference.

That knowing that you can leave the world better than you found it, which is my motto, can lead to a very satisfying and fulfilling life experience.

Useful links:

United Way
American Red Cross
CNN Heroes
Charity Navigator
United we serve