Sunday, January 30, 2011

Volunteering (Continuing to Spread the Kindness)

On Monday, January 10, I posted about getting back to volunteering.  I have tried to find something that truly touches my heart and gives me purpose so that I will be able to stick to it even when life gets crazy busy!  I love working with the elderly and with children, always have.  I get so much out of being with them than they probably ever get from me.

While exploring my possibilities, I came across many wonderful websites offering information and help with getting started with volunteering.  I came across a list of "Questions to ask before volunteering" which I am reprinting for you - great information!

Before choosing a volunteer opportunity, form a clear idea of your preferences and the implications of your decision to volunteer.  

1. Ask yourself if you want to:
  • Serve people in need directly
  • Serve behind the scenes
  • Use the talents and skills you already have
  • Learn new skills
  • Help address community problems
  • Work with national or international issues

2. What would you like to gain?
  • Help someone
  • Feel needed
  • Put faith in action
  • Give back what you have gotten
  • Meet others with like values
  • Lend support to a cause or issue
  • Make new friends
  • Build a resume
  • Make professional contacts
  • Gain academic credit
  • Learn new skills
  • Make use of skills
  • Get out of the house
  • Make good use of your leisure time

3. What do you enjoy most?
  • Working by yourself or with others
  • Working indoors or outdoors
  • Working with children, people with disabilities, the elderly
  • Talking, telephoning
  • Researching topics or issues
  • Writing editing, typing, computer entry, tutoring
  • Giving advice, counseling

4. Consider how much time you can give
  • A few hours a week
  • One day or one evening a week
  • One weekend shift a month
  • A block of time (Part of a break/vacation)

5. What skills or resources can you utilize?
  • Legal, accounting, medical
  • Clerical
  • Maintenance
  • Event production
  • Personal contacts in the community
  • Organizing
  • Transportation
  • Child care
  • Companionship
  • Teaching experience
  • Arts and crafts
  • Athletic instruction

6. Special Considerations
  • Transportation to and from your volunteer activity
  • Miscellaneous expenses (parking, child care, etc.)

7. Dos and Don'ts
  • Do be flexible.
  • It is rare to find the "perfect" opportunity right away.
  • Do attend orientation meetings.
  • These meetings enable you to become informed.
  • Do take the necessary training classes.
  • Ask about them before you decide to become involved.
  • Do be responsible. Show up on time and follow through.
  • People are counting on you.
  • Don't expect to start at the top.
  • You have to work hard and prove your worth.
  • Don't think that volunteering has to be a group effort.
  • You can start your own volunteer program.
  • Do expect to get plenty of personal enjoyment and satisfaction from your volunteer experiences.  Credit

So far, I have chosen volunteer opportunities that are not long-lasting.  I have volunteered at a senior citizen center to do taxes for seniors.  Would you believe that 51 people have signed up to meet with me?  I guess you know what I am doing for the next few weekends.

I will update you when I figure out where I should be volunteering on a more permanent basis.

What types of activities do you enjoy when spending time volunteering?  I always love ideas!

Have a GREAT week!

Monday, January 24, 2011

This week in Maine

My mother-in-law is doing much better.  She was transferred from the hospital to a rehabilitation center on Saturday and other than a rough first night, she is doing better each and every day!  Thank you all for keeping Agnes in your thoughts and prayers.

Here in Maine, it is so COLD!  Did I say cold - I meant FREEZING!  John and I woke to -20 degrees - yes you read that right - 2o degrees below zero!  Now that is cold.  That is the actual temperature, not the wind chill temp. 

As I sit here writing this, I am thinking about finding my gloves.  All the heaters are cranked up, but living in a 200 year old farm house we know that once the temps reach zero it is hard to keep the place warm.  Below you can see what we have to look forward to for the rest of this week.  Can you say Brr?

I hope the temperatures at your home are much warmer than here!  At least we have some snow in the forecast.  If we are going to have the cold weather - we should have some snow too!

Keep warm!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another good update on Agnes!

Agnes continues to improve. 
The doctor stated that if she continues improving at the rate she is now going, they will release her to a rehabilitation center on Friday.  She will go there for her back and the pain that originally sent her to the hospital last Thursday.

Keep up the prayers!

One thing that Agnes always use to joke with me about was that she wanted to make it to be 100 years old, so that she could have Willard Scott announce it on the Today Show.  She talked about having her picture shown on the Smuckers Jelly Jar and wanted to make sure that we gave them a current picture because she stated that it was funny when she would see 100 year old people but their picture was obviously when they were 70 years old.  

I bet she makes it!
I have my fingers crossed (and toes and eyes....)!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The prayers are working!

Thank you all for the prayers!  They are definitely working.

Update from this morning:

The doctor came in first thing this morning to see Agnes and he stated that he had been worried that she would not make it through last night.  When he walked in, Agnes was awake and wanted to know when breakfast was and when she could go home.  He then checked all her numbers - blood pressure was back to normal, oxygen saturation was much better, she had started coughing and loosening up the mucus in her chest and she was hungry!  Jennifer (our niece) said he just shook his head and said that he didn't know how she keeps doing it. 

Keep the prayers up - it is working!  I will let you know if there are any changes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Requesting prayers for my Mother-in-law!


I just wanted to let everyone know that John's Mom is in the hospital in Charleston, SC and possibly may not make it through today.  They have called her priest for last rites.  This is very sudden, with multiple issues.  She went to the hospital Thursday night with severe back pain, they found that 3 discs had collapsed and also found that she had a urinary track infection.  Within 24 hours ammonia started building in her lungs and she was no longer able to set up in bed causing further problems with her lungs.  She now has pneumonia, very low oxygen saturation, her blood pressure has sky-rocketed and she has been unable to eat anything for over 24 hours.  Please keep Agnes in your prayers and I will keep you updated if we should hear anything further.  


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Did someone say Blizzard?

This morning the local news station said that we were only suppose to get 3-6 inches of snow.  Upon leaving my house for work the snow was lightly coming down and the wind was picking up.  At 5:15 PM when I finally left work, I had almost a foot and a half of snow on the back of my car.  I am trying to clean off the car and the snow is blowing sideways, I can only see about an arms length in front of my face. 

We got lots of snow, but not quite this much!  :)

The snow was predicted to stop around 6 PM, but now they are saying that it will be continuing through tomorrow morning.  It is a typical Maine winter.  Wish me luck on shoveling out!

What's the weather like where you are?


Monday, January 10, 2011

Continuing to Spread the Kindness

Smiling went great and I actually learned a few things!  So this week in my quest to spread kindness, I have decided to get back to volunteering. 

John and I have spent much of our married life trying to give back through volunteerism.

One of the places we look for volunteer opportunities in our area is  Most states have a website that you can look for volunteer opportunities while narrowing it down to areas of interest or location.  Be sure to google "volunteering in insert your state here"

He Had a Dream
On January 17, 2011 millions throughout the nation will come together to volunteer and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, who never stopped asking the question, "What are you doing for others?" The MLK Day of Service is a moment to work together to fulfill King's vision for a better America - it's a day "on" instead of a day off. There are countless ways to get involved this MLK Day. Find the one that's right for you.
 Quotes on Volunteering

"Destiny is not necessarily what we get out of life, but rather, what we give."
--Cary Grant
'No joy can equal the joy serving others.' -Sai Baba

"When you give to others, you speak a silent but audible thank you. Appreciation for others and ourselves is life and spirit for each and every one of us."

"You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give."

"How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world."
--Anne Frank
A wise lady once told me that when you find your ideal job, you will do it for less than they pay you and when you find your calling you will do it for free. This is my ideal job. I hope you find yours."
--Martin Tichenor

Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received - only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.
--St. Francis of Assisi

There are two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we receive, and the larger kind we feel for what we give.
--Edward Arlington Robinson

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is only one thing worse than training your volunteers and having them leave - and that's not training them, and having them stay.

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted"

"If every American donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of twenty million full-time volunteers."
--Whoopi Goldberg

"Volunteers are paid in six figures... S-M-I-L-E-S"
--Gayla LeMaire

"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day."
--Sally Koch

"I feel that we all must live, so that when we are gone, everyone will miss the work we did, but someone has learned by watching us, how to take up the banner and go forward. "

"Help one another; there's no time like the present and no present like the time."
--James Durst, poet/songwriter

"Some get and forget. Some give and forgive."

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth."

"Even if it's a little thing, do something for those who have need of a man's help, something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it. For, remember, you don't live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too."
--Albert Schweitzer
I will keep you updated as to where I decide to start back volunteering.  
Do you and your family make it a point to give back through volunteering?  Where do you volunteer? 

Have a GREAT week!

Friday, January 7, 2011

What I learned from just smiling...

I guess we are never too old to learn.

While on my mission to spread kindness and starting with a smile, I was very surprised at the outcome.

What did I expect to happen?

Well, I thought that I could brighten someone's day or help someone overcome a bad mood.  I hoped that I could help to make someone that was getting ready spew their nastiness on others to think twice and maybe just change their attitude.  I expected that a smile to one of the elderly people that I encounter each day might help to remind them that they are not alone.

What actually happened:

The person that was changed the most - ME!  Now those that know me, know that I smile quite a bit anyway.  Actually, I thought this was going to be an easy thing for me to do, and the main reason I choose smiling to start my mission, since I smile naturally.

How I was changed:

I had my bad mood brightened by smiling at others.  Instead of spewing nastiness or reacting to others negative words, I smiled and my mood changed.  When I was confused or uncertain, I smiled and the worries just seemed to slip away.  

I thought that I was going to change others and spread kindness.  I am so glad that the person that was changed was ME.

Many of you joined my mission to spread kindness.  I can not wait to hear how it went for you!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is it possible to spread KINDNESS?

I am on a mission so watch out.  

My mission is to make kindness more contagious than the common cold.  

I am starting this mission with something that I have always been good at - smiling!

Do you want to join me on my mission?

Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh said,"If in our daily life, we can smile....not only we, but everyone will profit from it.  

Please take a moment to consider these quotes on smiling.

"If you only have one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home and then go out in the street and start grinning "Good Morning" at total strangers." ~ Maya Angelou

"Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love." ~ Mother Teresa

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

"Let a smile be your umbrella on a rainy day." ~ Lawrence Welk

"Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles." ~ George Elio

"Smile if it kills you. The physiology of smiling diffuses a lot of anger and angst. It makes your body and soul feel better." ~ Tom Peters

"Be multilingual; smiles are the universal language." ~ Unknown

"If you have made another person on this earth smile, your life has been worthwhile."~ Sr. Mary Christelle Macaluso

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been." ~ Mark Twain

You may wonder how one person can make a difference in this large world.

I say I CAN make a difference by passing on my goal to others and extending an invitation to everyone that I know to participate in my mission to spread kindness one step at a time.

So, will you join me in my mission?


Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday - Monday!

The first Monday of the new year and I didn't forget to post!
I may just be on a roll.

After working only 1 day in the past 10, I thought today would be very stressful.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that things were very busy, but not crazy.  

I was able to stick to my plan of only working an 8 hour day.

There is nothing like celebrating the small accomplishments!

Here's to me staying on track and keeping work life and home life in perspective.

One day down...259 days to go!

Wish me luck.  

My BFF - Diane has left the cold and snowy state of Maine for the beautiful, sunny and warm state of Florida.  
(I miss her already -and she hasn't even been gone a week.)

Have a great week y'all!  

So, how are your resolutions going so far?