RSWL: Service to Others (Volunteering)

 “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, our nation observes and celebrates Martin Luther King Jr., his life and accomplishments.   As one of many ways of doing this, each year, Americans across the country answer that infamous question of his by coming together on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities through volunteering and service projects.  I decided to rehash a previous blog post on volunteering to share today.

Volunteers are the backbone of organizations and events throughout society.   Who hasn’t signed up for a creek clean up day, soup kitchen, building project or more?  Sure, some people volunteer a few times a year, others volunteer like it’s their job.  And while I usually smirk at these do-gooders, the truth is that I wish I was more like them.  I’d love to volunteer about a gazillion percent more than I do, and I want my kids to grow up volunteering throughout their lives, begin part of a movement to progress.

There is such a range of volunteering too, that there HAS to be some area we all fit into with our abilities and personalities.   Whether it is helping at a race event, vacuuming a church, tutoring kids, a community garden,  walking a dog, fighting fires, or a mission trip,  volunteer opportunities abound locally and elsewhere.   I’ve seen firsthand the impact a couple dozen people and a few hours can make on the lives of people who are hurting.  I’ve felt first hand the love these actions carry.   Giving our time for something bigger than our needs gives hope.  For me, helping out at whatever occasion comes up is a good reality check and a reminder that life isn’t just about my needs, troubles and wants. Sometimes the circumstances are eye-opening, or life altering, like a mission trip or being part of relief efforts after a natural disaster.

Whatever the motivation, whatever the cause, whatever the reasons for helping, volunteers are just plain cool.  We don’t all have to believe the same thing or think the same way to have an enormous impact together.    Imagine a life without volunteers.  What would happen at our churches, libraries, volunteer fire departments, schools and parks if the volunteers didn’t show up??!! Who would help those that need extra love and care above and beyond the paid-position sector if not for volunteers?   I don’t think we want to know.

So, if you have ever volunteered, or if you are going to volunteer…thank you.  You rock.

Mine.  That’s how I started the day.  There were presents everywhere at our family Christmas party!  All. Mine.  They must be.  Lyla was certainly mistaken as she crawled over to one and began clawing at it with a mess of sticky fingers and drool.  It seemed perfectly natural to tackle her at this moment.  Perhaps it wasn’t the most thought out move in my life.  What followed was screaming, blinking, angry eyes, a boring story about being nice and sharing, and a few minutes to “think” and hit the “reset button”.   Reset button?  Seriously???   They think I fall for that. 

During my thoughtful minutes in exile, I started thinking about some life lessons and tricks I’ve learned.  So here’s my gift to you all:  a list.  (Momma would be so proud with the list thing!). 

Making lists...

Making lists…

  1.  Life is meant to be shared.  You should share all your stuff with me.
  2. The best way to get your point across is to suddenly act as though you have no bones.  Just fall to the ground.
  3. “Come here” means “Run the other way”…and most of the time “No” means “Yes- do it more”.
  4. If I didn’t think of it, it probably isn’t a good idea.
  5. People in the house smaller than you make the best toys.  And despite what I keep hearing…I’m pretty sure eyes do grow back.  
  6. All buttons on all things are meant to be pushed.  Repeatedly. 
  7. When you learn a new trick or new word, to avoid becoming a sideshow, promptly forget said knowledge when asked to perform.  Instead, blankly stare.  Better yet, drop to the floor and pretend to be a puppy. 
  8. The best time to talk is when Momma or Daddy begin talking.  Otherwise, wait.  When the angry eyes come out, put your pointer finger to your mouth and pretend to be thinking, as though saying, “hmmm…I wonder.”  
  9. There isn’t any worry that a love from Momma or Daddy can’t make better. 
  10. When you get caught doing something and are asked, “What are you doing???”… copy with the same question, “What are you doing???”  Throws them every time.  You’re mocking them, but they think you’re copying them, the highest form of flattery.  Follow with a devastatingly cute, toothy grin.  
  11. Watching the people you love smile because of something you do makes you feel like a superhero.  Wait.  It makes you a superhero. 

Merry Christmas everyone!   The next time I write it will be a new year, full of new adventures, new celebrations, new pictures and lots of love!   

RSWL: Challenges

Challenges.  Okay, so I don’t mean the kind of life challenges that refine us and define our strength.  That’s another entry.  I mean those fun 30-day challenges (or whatever the length of time).  It could be anything from saying “hi” to a stranger every day, to running every day, to journaling every day, or cooking a new recipe every day.   Some of these can be quirky, some a lifestyle change, some a renewing experience.  Whatever the challenge, it is always rewarding to mix it up, set a goal, test our own integrity and stick-to-it-iveness, and come out of the time with new knowledge, new skills, or a new habit (hopefully a healthy one!).

I came across this fun 30-day photo challenge and want to invite you to join me.  Try it, share it, show it.

30-Day Photo Challenge

    1.  Tricky tricky                                         16. Glow
    2. Flatness                                               17. Smile
    3. Altitude                                                 18. Weather
    4. Green                                                   19. Broken
    5. Wet                                                       20. Patterns
    6. Light                                                      21. Perfection
    7. Landscape                                            22. Earth
    8. Rebirth                                                  23. Pastels
    9. Shadow                                                24. Reflection
    10. The good life                                         25. Panorama
    11. Brown                                                   26. Solitary
    12. Floral                                                    27. New beginnings
    13. Strength                                               28. Au naturale
    14. Help                                                      29. Lost and found
    15. Macro                                                   30. Headlight


Use your imagination; it’s a powerful thing!  Sometimes we just need a little “click” to tap into our creativity or renew our inspiration.  Maybe this challenge is just that…maybe not.  But we won’t know until we try.  Go ahead…I dare you.