Showing posts with label Charity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charity. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

#givingtuesday

giving tuesday
Giving Tuesday was created as a way to balance all of the spending happening on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made a list of their four favorite places to give donations. Consider using social media to spread the word (@GivingTues and #GivingTuesday for those on Twitter).

We plan to give our annual contributions to WBUR, Mass Audubon, and our annual rotating donation to promote girls' education (this year we chose the Malala Fund). What's your favorite charity? Leave it as a link in the comments to give everyone as many choices today as possible.

Image credit: Huff Po.

Monday, November 18, 2013

{day 6}: donate a bag of stuff


Day 6: Donate a bag of stuff

Author's Note: If you haven't yet, read more details about the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays. You can also read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4, and Day 5 posts.

This task should be easy. If you've finished yesterday's task, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale (at a church, elementary school, or library), utilize one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation), or drop the items of at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army donation center.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

the 12 days of {minimalist parenting} Christmas

Following Minimalist Parenting's lead of rebooting the holidays, I am taking the notes I made during their two-week camp and turning their ideas into a list of activities you can do to prepare your home, mind, and family to take a minimalist approach to the holidays.

You can take as much or little time to do these activities, but they are designed to be done over two weeks. Each numbered task below represents one day for two weeks, and each item should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Although I titled the list "The 12 Days of Minimalist Christmas," you could insert any holiday. In fact, beginning tomorrow there are two weeks before Thanksgivukkah, so I suggest starting tomorrow with the DAY 1 activity! You can follow along on the blog, where I'll chart my own progress.



The 12 Days of {Minimalist Parenting} Holidays:


  1. More and Less List: As with every plan of action, draw a road map first. Write down what you want to do/see/create more and less of over the holidays. Like with my minimalist manifesto, I refer to my list often when something--an event, or overwhelm of stuff--threatens to steer me off course.
  2. Tackle your hardest thing first: Spend 15 minutes (use an egg-timer if you want) and do the most difficult thing on your holiday to-do list first. Procrastination drains your energy.
  3. Say Yes and No: This task goes back to what I wrote about last week, regarding saying no. Say yes to events that make you happy or excite you and say no to events that drain you.
  4. Delegate!: Identify holiday-related chores (untangling lights, taking down Halloween decorations, etc.) your kids can do and delegate them. 
  5. Declutter for 15 minutes: Go to a clutter spot in your house, and with a trash bag, spend 15 minutes decluttering by donating or throwing away toys that don't get played with, are missing parts, or are broken and awaiting fixing.
  6. Donate a bag of stuff: This task should be easy. If you've finished Day 5, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale or seek one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation).
  7. Rest & reflect on Week #1: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Has anything raised or lowered in priority? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
  8. Declutter e-mail: Touch each email only three times. First pass is for deleting messages that aren't addressed to you and responding to time-sensitive matters. Second pass is for emails that require more time. Third pass is for the messages that bug or don't interest you. 
  9. Make a holiday menu plan: Figure out 3-5 dishes that can be made and frozen in advance. Good possibilities are mashed squash, cranberry sauce, pie fillings, pie dough, and stuffing. 
  10. Involve your kids in mealtime: Kids can help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. Ideas for how they can help are on the Family Dinner Project website
  11. Develop and stick with a budget: Celebrate the holidays within your means by considering and communicating how much you plan to spend on gifts, food, travel, and entertainment. 
  12. Identify five favorite ways to care for yourself: Make a self-care short list of what nourishes, nurtures, and relaxes you.
  13. Give yourself 15 minutes: Make time in your calendar today and once each week for these 15 minutes to devote to one of the five items on your self-care list.
  14. Rest & reflect on Week #2: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Was the second week easier or more difficult? What will you plan to continue more permanently in your routine? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
If you try any of these holiday rebooting tasks, consider leaving a comment here on the blog or over on the Lone Home Ranger Facebook page. I'd love to hear what works and what doesn't!

Author's note: I did not get paid anything to write about Minimalist Parenting, but I like the authors and think you'll enjoy some concepts from their book. This post is part of The Homestead Barn HopWorks for Me Wednesday, and LHITS DIY Friday.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

in with the new

Spring is finally here to stay. With it came all the bargain shopping experiences you know I love. Negotiating ain't my thing, but if the price is set, I'll buy--and the last hour when everything is half price is fun too.

This weekend was my church's rummage sale, which is always a favorite. The children's book section is where I make a bee-line during the volunteer pre-sale. Check out some of these "awwww"-inducing finds:



Last year I volunteered during sale week by marking prices on breakables, but not being a tchotchke collector, I was worried I did it badly and found the experience stressful. This year I stuck with sales, which I liked because it involved talking to people. I met lots of the congregation who come to the 11am service. They all sized me up to be a 9am-er, "because all you 9am-ers have small kids."Yup.

The hardest part about sales was the rush at the end of the half-price sale. Everyone seems to assume you will give stuff away for nearly free just to get them out of your hair and because you don't want to cart the goods off to charity. They are mostly correct in this assumption, but I must tell you a hard truth. This segment of society--who haggle with volunteers at a rummage sale from which the proceeds go to a good cause--they weren't raised right by their mamas. My fellow fraught cashier could be heard a time or two exasperatedly bristling, "Oh all right, have it your way." I just laughed because laughter is how I handle awkward folks. Well, laughter and judgmental blog posts.

The adult book section--by that I mean books for grown-ups, not of the three-x variety--also had some great finds, so I think my summer reading selection is nearly complete. I put it up on Goodreads in case you're on there too and want to follow along or comment. If you're an avid reader and not yet on Goodreads, check it out! The combined inventions of GR and Pinterest mean I almost never miss a book recommendation these days.


Would you count Faulkner and James as summer reads, though? Hmmm, perhaps not. What do you have on your current book list?

p.s. I've already read Stumbling on Happiness, but I gave it away years ago and thought I could use a refresher. Do you give away books you liked? I can't handle clutter, so I find it's easier for me to get the book again later from the library or a used book sale than it is to lug it around for years. If I keep it, I just end up resenting it gathering dust. Plus, giving it away means I get to share book-love, which is one of my favorite life activities!

p.p.s. I admit that pic above of the books isn't great to show off the titles, but I wanted to squeeze in my other new purchase. That little bowl on the left is also a find from the church sale. Three bucks! I've been looking for a bowl for all the cell phone hoopla, and this one fits the bill nicely, doncha think? Here's a better shot of the books:


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

from Boston, with love

Monday morning was filled with jubilation, awe, and patriotism. Upon waking, I sipped my tea and imagined how terrifying--and yet also satisfying--it must have been for the minutemen to fight off the British at the start of the Revolutionary War. I pondered the symbolism of hosting a marathon on the holiday meant to commemorate the event, and how the emotions at the start of the race are not unlike those of the militia. The thrill of crossing that finish line and the excitement of watching 25,000 people accomplish such a great feat on a crisp April morning represent two glorious freedoms that bring me swelling pride of country.

marathon runners

On Monday, those freedoms were briefly interrupted with horrific blasts. Maimed and lost lives. Pandemonium. But if you watch footage of the explosions and the immediate aftermath, you also see the inalienable truth of American, of Bostonian, people. We will survive, we will get back up, we will bond together to recover.

Monday's tragic event at the Boston Marathon is lingering in the air here, but not in the way you might think. Boston is a city full of tenacity, resilience, and hope--unlike any place I've ever lived. We are all running our own race, and we will keep going, always encouraging each other to the end, come what may. It takes more than a small person's feeble attempts to rattle our pride, our faith, our patriotism. Our leaders have promised to find the person(s) who carried out the attack, and I have no doubt they will do that.

To the cowards that attempted to destroy our love of life and each other: You picked the wrong fucking city. As Mayor Tom Menino said, “We are one Boston. We are one community. As always, we will come together to help those most in need. And in the end, we will all be better for it.” To donate to the people who most need it now, visit The One Boston Fund. #OneBoston


real smaht

Thursday, March 28, 2013

{girl rising}: go see it!

I never embed videos in the blog two days in a row, but the exception is worthwhile because this film is itself so exceptional:



I saw it a few nights ago at our town's tiny theater with girlfriends. Find a theater near you to see it for yourself. I recommend taking your daughters too, so long as they are 13 or older. There are stories of sexual violence and a child giving birth in the film, but they are handled with discretion for the sake of minors watching. A few moms and seventh graders were leaving the theater next to us, and I overheard one say to the other, "Oh thank goodness! I was worried about where we were headed for a moment, but I think it was just perfect." I couldn't have said it better myself. Powerful, inspiring, important.

If, like me, you leave the theater wondering how you can donate, check out this website. The issue of girls' education is one that is dear to my heart. When I left Kenya the second time, I tried to assist in the creation of a Kenya girls' education fund, and I learned much about the process of becoming a NGO, as well as other great life lessons. Now in my thirties, I'm happy to see there's an organization doing good work in this needed area. I hope that some day, girls won't have to live their lives on the street, selling their bodies to feed their hungry families.

I wrote about this girl in a post last year

Saturday, October 06, 2012

on street children and how we CAN help

God bless them for still being able to smile. I wish I could hug them now, those men
they have become, and tell them how proud I am that they made it to the other side.
I can only pray they did make it. (circa 2002)

Today I'm sharing a topic near to my heart. There are orphaned children all over the world, so you could say this post centers upon the plight of all parentless children. I'm focusing particularly on African countries and the organizations that assist their children because I feel a special connection to them. It all began when I was in my early twenties and traveled to Kenya twice; the trips changed the direction of my life and my career goals. Stick with my lengthy introduction, as I will eventually arrive at the point.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

did you read? {3}: sustainability edition

Hey, remember that series I said I'd start writing back in February, then posted twice and kinda forgot about after that? Woops! Best laid plans and all that jazz. It's all good because I'm coming back at ya' with another post today, and I hope to make the series at least a monthly thing, since I've actually been reading quite a bit of worthwhile material.

If I haven't already smacked you in the face with this little bit of 411 about my life, 'tis the year of the urban/suburban sustainable homestead. Here are some of my favorite reads in that genre...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

...in which I recall my vow to adopt

Africa! 

I woke up on my first day in Nairobi, Kenya feeling both excited and bewildered to begin our first journey, after having spent nearly a fifth of my pocket money calling my mom from the hotel to tell her I was safe the night before. A long and confusing few hours at the bank were a good way to introduce us to "African time," the unhurried, content pace of a people simultaneously only one continent but also several worlds away.

Next stop, a trip to a local park. Mind reeling from the jet lag and the grasshopper weed a few of us *legally* indulged in during our quick stop in Amsterdam, I plopped myself on a rock on the edge of the park. Maybe calling it jet lag was my way of avoiding chitchat with my fellow American students; I eschew small talk like the plague, hence why it takes me a year and a half to make friends in a new city. Meanwhile, my comrades happily took pictures of each other enthusiastically feeding the resident park monkeys some peanuts, while Kenyans casually snuck glances of the wazungu making spectacles of themselves. Imagine a group of Africans joyfully feeding rats some popcorn in Central Park, and you'll probably have a good idea of what those Kenyans must have been thinking of us feeding their pesty "vermin." It became even more peculiar when I noticed shoeless, dirty children were apprehensively following behind the gluttonous monkeys, picking up and eating the peanuts they dropped. Stunned doesn't come close to how I felt at that moment.

Upon piling back into the matatu, I asked my professor about the scene I had just witnessed. "Street children," he returned, with a sad and knowing look, "sometimes called 'urchins' by locals. They are orphans who wander the streets in search of food and donations." Like every other American with a television, I had grown up seeing the Christian Children's Fund commercials, so I knew there were needy children in the world. It's hard to remember exactly what I comprehended about them prior to this experience, but my images likely involved orphanages ala Little Orphan Annie and Great Expectations. I was amazed to learn that children as young as Vivi lived on the street with no one to care for them. While I can't recall the thoughts I had before I knew these kids existed, I will never forget the one thought that occupied my mind for a long time afterward: I will adopt a child.

Ten years and eons of life experiences later, I would still love to adopt a child, but the concept has taken on some baggage on the con side of the equation. Family have understandably asked many hard questions, like whether we recognize that we are potentially subjecting our children to being raised alongside a child with special needs, how we will afford to pay the adoption fees, and why we would consider adopting when we know we can create such beautiful children ourselves, i.e. why not let people who can't have children of their own be the ones to adopt. I chatted recently about these questions with my lifelong friend AnnaLysa, and she reminded me that fostering a child is always an option, which could eventually lead to adoption in the right circumstances. I appreciate her letting me continue the dream in my mind, whether or not it becomes a reality some day.

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