Take Part

There’s a whole lot of giving going on, “helping a mother out,” people being kind to one another.  I just read about  a church in Texas that asked its members to take from the collection plate. Maybe that fishes and loaves miracle is still in effect, because it turned out to be the largest collection ever taken in the churches nine-year history.

While we hear so much about less, I believe there is enough for everyone. Plenty. There are enough jobs, there is enough food, for everyone. We are all going to feel the pinch as things shift, but we will be okay. So while we’re waiting for the abundance to flow, what do we do? We Take Part. 

Take Part is a division of Participant Media, and works as an interactive website that features topical information about social issues. The site is designed so that you can explore the issues that are important to you, join debate, and find ways toTake part act with concrete tools you need to make a difference.

I love Participant Media, they’re behind great films such as,”The Soloist, The Visitor, Darfur Now, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson’s War, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, and Academy Award®-winning An Inconvenient Truth. They operate under the notion that a good story well told can truly make a difference in how one sees the world. That’s art and authenticity all coming together for the common good. 

Use what you have to make a difference in someone else’s life,  and you will see the difference in yours. Really.  

Something spectacular is just around the bend…

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Senior-itis and When a College Degree Is Just A Weekend Away

Mt. St. Mary's

 

I don’t have it because I’m not a senior age-wise (yet)  or school-wise, but I remember the feeling clearly. Summer is baking up nicely, we only need to peek out of a window to see it rising, an open window invites a warm breeze, carrying with it the scent of something sweet. It makes the chair you’re sitting in stiff and uncomfortable, and all of a sudden you’re restless and you want to get outside. That’s Senior-itis. Enough of this indoor playing at school stuff. It’s time to let loose.

Graduate school is coming to a close, I have papers due, reading to be done and deadlines looming. I decided to go back to school pre-recession. I wanted to model for my daughter how important education is, and how joyful it is to study a subject you’re passionate about.  

This semester has been particularly challenging, with the job loss, the loss of my beloved Step-Dad, an angry ex, and health challenges.

I have papers to write… still, the adage is true. Life goes on.  

In case you are thinking about returning to school. Mount St. Mary’s College has an excellent program for adult learners. Guess what?  It’s on the weekend!  My own experience there was affirming, I was completely engaged and motivated by the professors. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I attend Antioch University now, and am working on an MFA in Creative Writing. I love Antioch as well, and their low-residency program is one of the best in California, where I live. It’s been a tough year and the faculty has been understanding, but they still want their papers. So, I gotta run folks.

If you’re thinking about going back to school, now is the time. Go on click it…  

Something spectacular is just around the bend.

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Distract, Distraction, Distracted.

distraction

 

I’ve always been easily distracted. An open window can be a portal to another time and space. I can watch the bees buzz and the wasps wing by for hours.  Sometimes it’s just the dishes or the laundry. Then there are times when I remember a poem I wrote many years, hard drives, floppy disks and thumb drives ago, and I want/need to see it, and I go foraging in boxes and journals for looking for it, for hours. And then there is life. 

A friend with a new baby called, I hope he’s not driving by the time I go see him. Life happens.

This is so incredibly intense, that I have to remind myself that distraction can be a good thing. We are on this journey and if you stare straight ahead at the road, you might miss something really great along the side. Like that 8ft ball of twine some guy keeps in his front yard that I keep reading about in Ripley’s. Talk about focus and dedication.

Right now, I’m distracted by a couple of things, graduate school for one, and some other personal things, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve lost focus. I’m having to glance at the side of the road, check out that ball of string and some other oddities,  I’ve stopped the car, but I know where I’m headed.  The theme from Mahogany just popped into my head. Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? 

Something spectacular is just around the bend…

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For a Giggle — Awkward Family Photos

 

awkward 2

 

   We’ve all taken them. They usually end up at the bottom of a drawer or box, taken out once a year or so and laughed about until the tummy aches, the knees buckle and the tears flow. The awkward family photo.  Well this blogger has them all conveniently  located on one site so that you can scroll through and chuckle. Aww heck, share them with your co-workers too, laughter is meant to be shared. 

What has this got to do with the recession?  We’re taking care of our “star players,”  ourselves, and we need to get our  giggle on and release some stress, it’s a good thing. 

 Go on… click it! 

Something spectacular (or a good chuckle) is just around the bend...

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Buck Convention!

unconventionalWorking a 9-5 job would give me:

A. The security I need to provide food and shelter for me and the Tween-let.  

B. Benefits! Health, retirement etc. 

C. A frowny face. 

     The correct answer is ‘C’. 

     Freelancing works for me and for a whole lot of other people as well.  CNN/Money reports that “freelance is the new full-time” and now accounts for more than one-quarter of the U.S. working population. What more could I ask for in terms of flexibility and tapping into my strengths and talents?  Freelancing is the way to go.    

     The decision to not go the conventional route was not easy. I do have responsibilities, it’s not just me, there’s another human being dependent on me and trusting me to make the right decisions. I’m not saying this is the right path for everyone.  

    People get hung up in “what is their path.”  It isn’t just a direction of a way to something. Your path is your attitude, your intention, your actions, your behavior. When you honor your beliefs and values, who you really are,  you’re on your path, no matter what you do.  

    I believe this: 

    Life is as simple as breath and as powerful as the spoken word. 

    Life is measured by change and valued by relationships.  

    Life is complex only when we over think it. 

 

        What this “laid off” experience has taught me is to slow down and appreciate life, its taste, its fragrance, its tenderness and its beauty.  I have experienced so much of that through the thoughtfulness of friends and through the eyes of my daughter. Work should make life sweet. I believe that. 

Oh! I got a fortune cookie the other night, my fortune read,”You need not worry about your future.” YES to that!

   Something spectacular is just around the bend… 

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Help A Mother Out–Point, Click and Give.

cropped-hamo_banner_png

 

“If I look at the mass I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” 

     Mother Teresa 

 

    Lisa Truong and Rachel Fudge created “Help A Mother Out” (HAMO) to share information, network, and inspire action. It might take a village to raise a child, but it only takes one of you to point, click and give to “help a mother out.” Truong and Fudge aren’t asking for thousands of dollars from the recession weary. Rather, they’ve streamlined giving into something that any Internet savvy wanna be philanthropist can do. Go to the website, point your cursor at any of the non-profits listed under “Amazon Wish List.” Click on the link, look over the list and give. Point, click and give, it’s that easy. 

     The friends were motivated to start HAMO after they attended a benefit knitting class at a woman’s daytime drop in shelter. A passionate appeal from the center’s volunteer director for basic things such as diapers and personal care items stayed with the friends after the event was over.     

     Lisa told Recession Daily, “I had no business starting this blog/campaign. [My] husband works a lot and I have minimal childcare. I work on HAMO stuff during nap times, after bedtime, on the weekends, in between family chaos.

    Lisa, a stay-at-home-mom with 2 small children candidly shares that she’s been,  “laid off so many times in my career I can’t even count…” She and her husband (who is employed by a small business) have learned to live frugally.

    Rachel chimed in, “The creation of HAMO was pretty off the cuff, although I think both Lisa and I were itching to have a project to work on outside of family/paid work. We did not, however, anticipate things taking off like this! We’re just two friends who’ve called in a lot of favors and networked our butts off.”

     Rachel works full-time as a freelance editor. She also worked as an editor at the nonprofit, small-budget magazine, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, and served on its board of directors for 7 years. “My parents founded a nonprofit 25 years ago, so I grew up with the idea, volunteered, etc. I know my way around nonprofits and fundraising, but I’m no expert.”

   Microphilanthropy is a burgeoning movement in which donors make small gifts to a specific cause or action. It’s a paradigm shift in giving, from an emotional appeal to major donors, to a proactive request for everyday people to play a part in philanthropy and in this case,  simply meet basic human needs.

    Lisa talked about the creation of HAMO. “A year ago I was ‘off the grid’ with social networking. I was anti-social networking. Using the blogosphere, we have been able to meet and tweet some really interesting and like-minded folks. We have utilized Gmail, Google apps, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Amazon.com and WordPress.”

      Microphilanthropy works in conjunction with the wealth of information available on the Internet and the prominence that social networking has gained. By using charity information sites like Guidestar and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter microphilanthopy leverages available information and the connectivity of an individual as a force for good. Simply, you choose your charity, you give, you ask your network to give and all of a sudden there’s a movement going on. A response to a cause.

     “HAMO was started less than 3 months ago and has grown organically. The only expectation we had in the beginning was to get our close friends and family to buy some diapers and personal care items and share news with them about tent cities. After starting HAMO and contacting agencies, a world has opened up to us that we think others should know about.” Lisa explains.

    “Right now we are focusing on our May Donation Campaign and getting the word out. Aside from donation bins we are not asking for cash donations for HAMO. We want to show people that they can make a difference in their OWN community and give them easy steps to do it by way of the Amazon.com wish lists or by donating extra supplies they already have.”

     Point, click and give, it’s that easy. No one said you had to give until it hurt, just a little bit, enough to help a mother out. 

     Something spectacular is just around the bend…     

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Because It’s Mother’s Day

 

      Summer is simmering on the back burner, and I’ve hit a routine of waking, writing, putting something together for my Tween-let for breakfast and walking her to school.  We have a “Poppy Quiz” on some days, that’s when I point out a flower or tree and she tells me the name. My mother told me, “it’s a good thing to know the names of things,” I tell my daughter the same thing.

    I tell the Tween-let a lot of things, garden-variety mother stuff, wash your face, brush your teeth, be a leader, be kind to people and most of the time it seems as if she’s not listening. I also try to show her, courage, resilience, faith and love. Often that gets mixed in with impatience, unreal expectations and lots of other ‘mommy moments’ I’d like to take back. When I’m wrong, which is more often than I would like, I tell her that too.

     She likes to walk with her arm looped in mine, telling me about all of the things she’s going to invent one day. She likes to predict our future, telling me about the home we will one day live in, about the travels we will take. I parrot her vision back to her, yes, of course, and will sometimes add a disclaimer just so she won’t be disappointed. It is those times she stops me, and looks me in my eye and says, “No, that is how it will be, because I said it. That’s how it works.” It is then I am dazzled by her, her knowledge of the power of the word, and I then know that she’s heard me, and who am I to add a doubt to her vision of her life?

    I am so wonderfully blessed to be her mother. 

    Something spectacular is just around the bend.

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