The Challenge

This idea is wholly that of Jen's from her oh-so-inspiring blog, "A Year of Living Charitably". When I read her blog, I felt challenged to see if I could do what she and her family are doing this year, extending some charitable act each and every day.

Won't you join us?

PS - I'm not a daily blogger, so if you want daily, definitely read Jen's blog. This blog is mostly for my own amusement. If you are also amused, please check back every once in a while.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Take Pictures

As a fund raising activity, our teams decided to run a photo booth at Feile Samhain. Several other parents created an awesome backdrop and one of the other parents and I took photos. The photo to the left is one I took of our TCRGs and the two Feis musicians (in the center).

WHAT I DID: Use my photography skills (and equipment) to take fun photos of the dancers.

HOW LONG: One day - and I was there anyway.

IMPACT: Well, the one group who actually came to get their photo taken LOVED their photo! But we were too tucked into a corner to really make a difference.

WORTH IT? I think we can figure out a way to make it more worthwhile for next year, so we learned a lot!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Create Feis Program

I volunteered to create the Feis program for Feile Samhain this year. Of course, all the essential info was late in getting to me - like, we were supposed to get the finished product to the printer on Sunday and I didn't get the raw data files until Monday! But I got it done, and even received compliments on the finished product.

WHAT I DID: Take the information provided and create a 32 page program. I also created a lot of the dance ads for people - in the past they were to provide camera ready artwork, but I love designing the ads, so that was a special bonus for me and for them!

HOW LONG: Oh boy, I didn't keep track, and I'm glad I didn't. It took about two weeks, and some of that time was very intense - staying up until 2am several nights in a row to get it to the printer within the turn around time.

IMPACT: Well, I saw lots of people using it at the Feis, but in addition to that - I got to see the reaction of one of the dancers when she saw the ad her mom placed - she was so thrilled and I had designed it. So fun!

WORTH IT: I so appreciate the Feis chairperson, and like to do what I can to help her. It was a very big way that I could help her and help our dance school, so yes, it was worth it. We also took the additional step of binding it ourselves (340 copies!), saving our TCRGs almost $1,000!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Heal the Pain

Steve's mom, Berta, fell and shattered her kneecap three weeks ago. Now we are at our family reunion in a house that is so far from handicap accessible as to be almost impossible, and Berta is in a wheelchair with strict instructions to not put any weight on her leg. To get into the house you have to climb a full set of stairs. Then to get to any bedroom, you have to either climb up or down a full set of stairs.

In an effort to not be a bother, Berta was climbing up the stairs to bed on her bum, scooting up with her arms. It was late and she was very tired from a long day, and seems to have pulled a muscle in her back from the climb.

I used what little I know of Healing Touch to help ease the pain. I concentrated on sending as much healing energy as I could connect with through my hands and to the area.

I worked on her for about four hours over the course of a couple of days.

I was able to help her get her pain from an eight out of ten to a two out of ten and allowed her to get some much needed rest.

Definitely! Not only was I able to really help my mother-in-law, but I learned a lot about my ability to heal. And it had the side benefit of easing our relationship a bit.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Site Administrator

My life coach has been a little frustrated (really just a little) because no one is really using her website. We had a committee meeting via conference call and I mentioned that the problem might be that the site isn't interactive - that it is too static. I thought a ning social networking site might be what she is looking for and offered to set it up for her. I've been having such a great time setting this up! I just love playing on the computer and figuring stuff out (unless what I'm trying to do is fix bugs, then I'm not so happy!). (I had to host the above picture somewhere - it is her heart portrait that we had commissioned last summer, so I'm sticking it here to add some color and to be able to link to it.)

WHAT I DID: Set up a social networking site for my life coach and fellow GUTS sisters.

HOW LONG: About a day.

IMPACT: Too soon to tell, but I'm really hoping that the site will help people connect, support each other and grow in their development.

WORTH IT? Well, I've had so much fun setting it up that all the rest of it is gravy - so yes, totally worth it. AND my coach is so happy and grateful.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Giant GS Cookie Project

Well, our girls sold their last box yesterday and then we gathered at our house for lasagne and Thin Mint ice cream.

Where have I been? Since Feb. 18, I have been helping four girls (then five, as we added a girl to our troop during and because of the sale) to try to sell 8000 boxes of cookies! They got to 6600 boxes, shy of their huge goal, but a huge success none the less. Of those, we have 427 boxes to deliver to our local food bank. I'm excited to think of the happy surprise those families will have when they go to pick up a box from the food bank and have a box of Mints or Samoas to enjoy!

WHAT I DID: counted, moved, recounted and moved again more boxes of cookies than I'd even like to think about! Counted stacks of money and reconciled everything every day. Stood for at least 150 hours at many booth sales - smiling and saying hello the entire time. Gave pep talks after the hard, slow days, and celebrated after the amazing days when they sold more than I thought possible. I also answered questions from other troop cookie managers and helped Steve with his part of supplying all the troops with cookies as much as I could.

HOW LONG: Ha!!! Probably about 250 hours.

There are many facets to this.
The impact on the girls - them knowing that they have such strong support for their goals, that they can push through colds and flu, tiredness, strange strangers, getting no after no after no to reach all those yeses, proving that they can do what most people didn't think they could do... They also earned enough money to go on a trip to Savannah this coming fall and do many other things they want to do.
The impact on our community - the girls would greet everyone who entered whatever store they were in front of with a warm welcome and let them go on their way with a sincere "Have a great day!" Most people left with a smile, whether they bought a box or not. They brightened up many a moment. The good will continues to spread as they deliver their boxes to the food bank to brighten up those boxes of rice, beans and peanut butter.
The impact on our GS Service Unit - helping make the sale easier for all the other troops allowed those girls to reach their goals and earn the money they need for their activities.
The impact on our GS Council - the cookie sale helps to support our local GS Council activities - summer camp, programs for troops, programs for underserved girls, etc.

WORTH IT? Yes - in so many ways. And how else can a small group of 11 and 12 year olds earn almost $9,000 in 25 days?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Birthday Project

For my 45th birthday I decided to do a service project. I contacted service organizations in Portland, but they had all the volunteers they needed so I came up with my own project. The project is by no means finished, but the great thing about this project is that the doing of it has as much, if not more, impact as the finished product.

People need to tell their stories. They need to have someone listen to their stories and have them validated.


I invited two of my closest friends to spend the day with me in Portland. I borrowed my daughter's video camera and we went around town asking women to tell us their stories of how they know they are strong, or what makes them stronger.

Probably only and hour or two so far - we were also having a great time talking with each other, enjoying good food, and celebrating.

The women just lit up when they understood what we were asking of them. As they told their stories they all became more confident and stronger right before our eyes.


YES! This was an instant gratification project. We were able to see the impact we were having on the women right away. After listening to their stories, it felt like we had friends all over town - women smiling and waving at us when they saw us again. And I can't wait to go do it again - to reach out even more to those who are mostly invisible.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Learning to be a Webmaster

The website for our Irish dance school has been woefully out of date. The instructors/owners are so very busy running so many locations, keeping up with two very small children, and working with all the teams, and the website is just more than they have time to keep up.

Volunteered to take over the website upkeep.

A few hours today while I was sitting around waiting during Bekka's 6 hours of class, with more to come.

I'm hoping that, with an up to date website the school will grow and the families already in the school will have easier access to current information (it can get really frustrating, especially when you are new to Irish Dance, to try to figure it all out).


YES!! Not only am I providing a great service for the instructors/owners and the other school families (and potential families), I am learning to create and manage a website (something I've never done before).