Friday, October 25, 2013

100 Thank Yous

I made it! This is my 100th blog! I want more than anything to thank you, my readers, for coming back and reading my blogs each week and for sharing them with others.

I also want to remember some of my first and favorite blogs today, along with remembering that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Saturday is Make a Difference Day. I’ll be volunteering at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Saturday along with my husband. I hope you have plans to make a difference somehow, too!
Now for a walk down memory lane. Here’s a quote from my very first blog which was entitled Me, Myself, and Why:

“When you see or hear about someone in need, it should pull on your heart. That’s the way God wants us to feel.  When we get too hard to feel for others, we’ve lost something very dear.”

The blog of mine that has gotten the most reads was just before Memorial Day and is called Remember. After I go on about my plans for Memorial Day weekend and the cookout I’m having, I explain that my son wants to give a speech.

“My son says he wants to say a few words at the cookout and asked me to find a verse that he can use in his “speech.”  We were at his grandmother’s house when he asked me and she mentioned John 15:13 ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?  Having the courage to put your life on the line for others.  We honor those that have done that for us this Monday.  We must never forget them.”

Another popular blog of mine is an interview with mental health advocate Jennifer Moyer. In it, we found out that “Postpartum depression occurs in approximately 1 out of 8 women.  Symptoms can occur anytime during pregnancy up until 12 months postpartum.” We also found out that a lot can be done to help someone with depression.   

Another of my favorite interviews was with Nancy Reynolds, a retired teacher who has learned the secret to happiness. “I have something every day to do for someone else. I just think if we just had more people volunteering, we would have less depression.”

Boy, she nailed it! Another popular blog was my 13 ways to help others in 2013. I have another list on my website of 12 completely free ways to help others and a couple ways to save money while you help!

So, back to my first blog:  “We are hearts that help other hearts when we reach out to others through volunteer or charity work.”

Let’s continue to share our hearts with others and guard our hearts because as it says in Proverbs 4:23, everything we do flows from it. Let it be filled with love. God bless!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Are You Making a Difference?

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Work? School? Or the fun of helping others? For about 450 high school students in Pensacola, Florida, it’s helping others that gets them out of bed early on a Saturday morning, no less.

That’s how many Catholic High School students will participate in this year’s Make a Difference Day on October 26. Why do they do it?

Twelfth grader Zack Wyant remembers his first Make a Difference Day. “I just took a second and thought, ‘Look at all these kids out here. It’s early. It’s cold. Look at these people willing to give up and sacrifice.’ It exemplifies how much we want to help others.”

Fellow Catholic High School Senior Tiarra Blackshear said, “My favorite part of being in high school is Make a Difference Day. I get a lot out of helping students and other people. It’s really fun to see students come together and help different people in our community, no matter who they are.”

Both have done a variety of things over the past few Make a Difference Days, from car washes to dog washes. If you want ideas for things to do this Make a Difference Day, here are a few that Catholic High School Students have done:

Habitat house

Cleaning up a local cemetery

Partner with an elementary school to do a festival to raise money

Build a fitness trail for the Sacred Heart Miracle Camp

Prepare items for wish lists for the Ronald McDonald House

Plant sea oats and put up fences to fight erosion on a small island

Build an oyster bed for an ecosystem

Build a playground for a children’s home

Build picnic tables to give to nonprofits

Visit nursing homes

Build wheelchair ramps for people in wheelchairs

Altogether they do 22 to 28 projects each Make a Difference Day and having been doing it for 19 years!

Catholic High administrator Jane Moseley  says, “We encourage the kids at Catholic High School to be involved in service.” Sounds like Ms. Moseley is doing something right!

Why don’t you join them next Saturday in doing something to Make a Difference? I will be volunteering at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in my area for the third year in a row and this year I’ve roped my husband into helping, too!

God Bless and go for it. Make a difference!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Never Stop Moving!

Yesterday I was talking to my mother in law about my husband’s older brother. His birthday is about a week away and he LOVES birthday celebrations. My husband’s older brother has Down Syndrome and he is just one of those people who loves other people, especially women if you know what I mean! He will go hug a woman he’s just met and smile the whole time.

As he has gotten older (he’s in his mid-fifties now), however, he’s gotten a little more set in his ways. He doesn’t like going places as much as he used to and he would generally just rather stay at home and watch television or play with the little people toys he has had for years.
He’s also gotten where he doesn’t want to work as much. He refused to go to work a couple of days this week and we don’t know why. But my mother in law said something that stuck with me about my brother in law and why she and his father want him to keep working. They’re afraid that if he stops working, he might just stop altogether. As with many older people, he has arthritis and if he stops moving, it gets harder to do it at all.

They’re right. According to a publication of World Arthritis Day, “Staying physically active can help alleviate pain, stiffness and fatigue as well as helping to keep you mobile. When you are physically active you are also helping to ‘feed’ your joints as cartilage depends on joint movement to absorb nutrients and remove waste. Being physically active can also be stimulating, give you a sense of achievement and lift your mood.”

The publication also says, “If you are avoiding moving around when it hurts there is a risk you will lose the mobility and the strength you need to perform daily tasks. Your body will adapt quickly to being physically activity – or to being inactive. The less active you are in daily life the less energy you will have to perform tasks and the less exertion it will take for you to feel pain…Often pain decreases when you are exercising, partly because the body’s own pain relief system is activated by muscle work and an increase in endorphin levels.”

Why am I talking about this? Because tomorrow is World Arthritis Day (WAD) and this is Arthritis Awareness Week. And maybe, because it has a larger meaning for us all.

One of the most fun ways to celebrate WAD while also helping those with arthritis is to attend a Bone Bash in October. From Seattle, Washington to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania people will come together to dress up and raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. If you’d rather be more active, there are runs and walks for the Arthritis Foundation as well as other galas and events if costumes are not your style.

But one thing we need to remember as we age, is it is not time to stop exercising. If you’ve never been a big exerciser and you have arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation will help you train to walk or run a marathon or half marathon. It’s called Joints in Motion and ends in an actual athletic event with others who have been training around the country.

Another thing we need to remember is to always keep ourselves from getting stuck. When we stop doing things for the Lord, we stop doing His will. So, let’s never stop moving, folks! God Bless and have a great weekend!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Searching and Staying

It’s beginning. The season of holidays, family get togethers, gift buying and giving and much more. Today we were planning our next few holidays with the family. We were planning a big Thanksgiving get together with everyone, but it’s been put on hold and my husband’s sister is coming in at Halloween to see us instead.

With all of this coming up, there’s two things of which we’ll be doing a lot—searching and staying. We can do them both and help raise money for needy charities at the same time.

Googling has become part of our vernacular. A couple of weeks ago I told a friend to google how to do something because we couldn’t get together for me to show her how to do it. She said, “Oh yeah, I could do that.” My husband tells me to google and he doesn’t even like that particular search engine.

We do searches every day but few people realize you can earn money for charities simply by using certain search engines.

Lately, I have been using SearchKindly.org. I like it because you can use the Google, Yahoo, or Bing search engines or search Wikipedia. You choose the search engine. Unfortunately, you cannot sign up to support specific charities when you use SearchKindly. In fact, the site doesn’t list the charities it supports at all, which makes me wonder if it’s legitimate.

I am also signed up for GoodSearch.com because I can earn money for my son’s school through it. It actually shows how much has been earned for the school by me and also in total from everyone using the site.

GoodSearch.com has added a bunch more ways to earn money for charities, including playing games, doing surveys, watching TV ads, eating out, shopping online, and trying new offers. It’s become a little charity fund generating center of its own.

Bing Rewards is another search engine that allows you to earn money for charities. I haven’t tried it, but you can earn credits towards rewards by searching with Bing and taking advantage of daily offers. Like GoodSearch, you can choose the charity to which you donate.  

We’ll also be looking for hotels and I’ve found a way to make that pay for charities, too. It’s called Hotels for Hope and it’s given over $200,000 to charities to date. I’ve been a part of that by booking hotels through them.

They weren’t more expensive than when I booked them through any other online booking service either, but $2 a night went to one of six charities, like Livestrong, Boys and Girls clubs, Special Olympics Texas and others.

So, this season, if you’re searching online, choose your search engine wisely. And, if you’re going to visit relatives and need a place to stay, try Hotels for Hope.

God Bless!