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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The holidays are officially upon us and with that means the hustle and bustle of cooking, parties, making lists, buying presents, sending cards - goodness, are you tired of just thinking of all of that?! =) So was I....until I read a very important thought for my own life and something I've made a mental note to reflect on each and every day. I've heard it said countless times by countless individuals, but the basic gist is that it is not any particular happening that causes unhappiness, stress or sorrow - it is our resistance to or unacceptance of that happening. I LOVE this thought because it gives me the choice as to how I am going to react that what is happening around me.
For instance, there are LOTS of things that are happening around this time of year that can be seen as stressful. Lots of us have traveling and packing and family, etc coming up. If you start right out of the gate stressing about all there is to do - your frame of mind is already set. If on the other hand, you challenge yourself to view it another way....a positive, an opportunity to grow, an acceptance that you are exactly where you need to be - somehow, the obstacle isn't as insurmountable. Personal example - every year around the holidays we take family photos. I am kind of "nerdy" in the sense that I match everyone up (that's seven people!!), painstakingly plan and shop for the outfits, schedule the haircuts to happen just before the shoot, carefully plan the naptimes - you get it. It's a BIG deal to me -because its often the only time we get the family for a group shot. So most years, photo shoot = stress. But, this year, I wasn't about to let stress steal what should be a joyous and happy moment from me. With the kids growing up so fast, I didn't want this to be another year where I worried and fretted and then "got through" or "survived" the family pics. I wanted to truly enjoy them. So, we met our photographer at a park and just played with the kids while she took pics. They climbed hills, fought with sticks (ok - I said I wanted to enjoy it, but not that they were necessarily angels!! =), ran around and just were kids. My husband and I truly enjoyed just playing with them and watching them explore and enjoy themselves. Like any experience with five kiddos, the day did have some challenges....My children were skipping stones at a man-made pond. I wasn't thrilled about them digging in the dirt for stones, but I went with it and tried to offer sticks as digging (and more importantly, keeping clean) tools. And then it happened. The moment that threatened to throw off my sanity... My second son was balancing on a stone pond wall and reaching out over the pond to get a branch that had berries on it - in hopes of skipping those instead. Of course, in my family - monkey see, monkey do... My third son tried to imitate his older brother and reach for those same berries (wait for it....I know you know what's coming)..and.....accidentally lost his balance and fell COMPLETELY in the pond!! Although I was there instanteously and pulled him out, he was covered in mud, crying, soaking and cold -- and we probably looked like the most crazy family out in the park that day.....BUT, I was able to laugh about it right wawy and make him feel a little better about it too. So we didn't get as many shots as we might have....but we enjoyed our time together and I think that that is what is important. I couldn't change that moment, I could only change my reaction to it. Because of my more relaxed frame of mind heading in to the shoot, I was able to deal with the moment...frankly, one that would have challenged my being able to hold it together. Getting upset, disappointed or annoyed would only have made me miserable and my son even more upset. On the other hand, looking at the humor in the situation of a completely soaked and muddy six year-old who fell in to the pond during family photos, changed my perspective. Someday, it will make a GREAT story! *wink*
I truly believe that each and every moment you are right where you are supposed to be. There is something to be learned from the stressful moments, the sad moments, the challengin ones and all the rest. If you can't change the moment - change your perspective. Enjoy the moments this holiday season - and those responsibilities that you see as a chore - challenge yourself to see things in a different manner or just cut them altogether if you can't.
From our families to yours - Happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for so very much this year. For your support and encouragement, your kindness and your generosity. ((Hugs)) to each and every one of you!
In love and kindness,
Email Elizabeth & Heather
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
As I listen to people (self included) talk about “sacrifices” or “losses” sustained during these tough economic times, I must remind myself of those less fortunate than I. I can’t help but wonder if I am feeling the pinch, then how are they surviving? Although these thoughts are sobering ones, I am actually thankful for them. I am reminded of the many blessings that I have received and continue to benefit from, even during present times. As well, I am not only reminded of those who are in need, but I am inspired to find ways to help.
For me the recession has meant the loss of a job and clients. However, this has been a great opportunity for me to redirect my time and energy towards helping others. I am the Volunteer Coordinator for one of the organizations that I volunteer with, which gives me a chance to meet many people who are looking for ways to give back. What intrigues me the most, are their reasons for volunteering. Many are unemployed and looking for ways to productively spend their days, while others are looking for community service opportunities to fulfill school or other requirements. One reason that resonates with me so deeply is the search for something “more”. Many of the volunteers that I have spoken with are looking for an opportunity to positively impact our world. The need to feel as though one has done something of meaning is a dominant factor for many of the volunteers. Whatever their reason, most will tell you that giving of one’s time not only impacts the organization and those that it serves, but the volunteer as well. When your efforts and thoughts are concentrated on helping others, it is hard to worry about yourself. Giving of self has way of bringing perspective to one’s life and place in the world. The conversion from name brand to generic is no longer important—and really was it ever? Instead thoughts of loss are replaced with those of thankfulness and inspiration—thankfulness for what one has and the inspiration to help others achieve their own goals and dreams.
While these past two years have meant changes for everyone, I am thankful for at least one aspect of these changes. I think that we have been forced to reassess our own values; what is truly most important and do we really need so much “stuff”? I would be lying if I said that I don’t want to have nice “things” or to be free of financial worries. None –the- less, I have been reminded that what is most important is, not what I don’t have, but what I do with what I have been given.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
As Thanksgiving approaches, we all have much to be thankful for. Even if you find yourself struggling, you have your health or your children or your family – each of us has much to be thankful for. So – in keeping with the spirit of the season, Heather and I want to make sure that you know how much we appreciate you, our readers, our donors and our recipients. From time to time we shine the spotlight on various individuals who have been a part of this little community and today, I’d like to introduce – Mitzi. http://goodsonfamilyjourney.blogspot.com/
And here is what she says…you read enough of my posts and you’ll figure out that my life is lead my emotion – so I won’t lie and say that there weren’t any sniffles while reading her sweets words… =)
I am a woman that wanted kids from the time I could say baby BUT it just seemed that the right guy never came along so I just prayed & waited…I knew God would get to my prayers when he had a free minute J Then one day there was my husband; he was sitting there in his suit & I just knew the first time I saw him we were going to be together forever & he was the man God sent my way. We got married & were again blessed when we found out that we were expecting Brayden; this is when I started blogging & when I found PIOB & felt truly inspired & in awe of both you & heather & what you were doing to help. I actually teared up when I saw what you guys were doing & just knew that I HAD to help (I was meant to help) when & however I could. I knew that it wasn’t that I just “stumbled” onto your blog I knew it was God leading me to it. I am beyond thankful for Lance & Brayden & that my prayers were answered & now I just want to give back every chance I have the opportunity too. I just hope that I have helped lighten the burden/load off of a family that needs it.
She doesn’t need to “hope” that she has helped with many burdens – she undoubtedly has. Thank you, Mitzi, for lending a much-needed hand to families out there. She embodies what I love most – someone fulfilling their dreams turning back to help the next person up.
In love and kindness,
Email Elizabeth & Heather
Sunday, November 8, 2009
November is Adoption Awareness Month.
Did you know that purple is the color that represents adoption?
Did you know there are over 100 million orphans in the world?
Anyone that has adopted or has been touched by someone that has adopted, understands the amazing blessing brought to them by the sacrifice of another.
Adoption = to take as one's own
Today I wanted to post about different way in which we can "adopt". Have you ever adopted the burden of another? .... taken on someones struggle and adopted the solution as your own? Sometimes there are those that have such a need for help. They are completely dependent on anyone willing to reach out to them. People who's stable situation changed in the blink of an eye by an unexpected event. Sometimes it doesn't take much to lose what took years to accomplish. Right now there are so many that have lost their jobs and are losing everything they spent years to build. Let's reach out and "adopt" someone today!
If you are like me you have an over abundance of clothes and/or shoes that your children can no longer wear. They are packed away in boxes that are taking up way too much space in your closet, basement, or garage. One of the waiting moms had ordered 3 Red Thread Stitches creations from me back when I was fundraising for Mia Hope. There was a change in plans on their adoption journey and she asked me to donate them to "Pass It On, Baby!" I asked her if it would be okay to take the money she had given me and purchase outfits. Instead of sending 3 outfits, I was able to purchase 12 outfits! When I contacted the wonderful ladies that run this charity, I was touched by the need for basic things such as underwear and shoes. These families are desperate for ANYTHING to clothe their children in because they have nothing due to job loss.
November is also a month of "thanksgiving". Even after 6 months of unemployment in our home this past year, we have so much to be thankful for! If you find it in your heart to "adopt" a child that needs clothing...new or used.... please click on the link below and see what you can do to help. There is an "immediate" needs section on the sidebar. These families are in urgent need of clothing. Thank you for allowing "adoption" to become a part of your world. I believe there are blessings waiting for those who share their abundance.
We want to thank Robin for this wonderful blog post and to Michelle for supporting us through sharing Pass It On, Baby!'s message. So we extend this idea of "adoption" to our Pass It On, Baby! community. What a wonderful way to show how thankful we are to our blessings by helping out a family and adopting their burden with your solution - kids clothes. So simple - so impactful. Even if you don't have clothes to donate and you have a few extra dollars for charity this holiday - I invite you to consider purchasing clothes for a family who desperately needs it.
I want to end with a quote that Robin posted on her blog under PIOB's blog button. It truly represents why we feel so strongly about Pass It On, Baby!
"Sometimes I would like to ask God, why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid He might ask me the same question." ~Anonymous
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Each time you help someone in need, it is bittersweet. You feel wonderful for actually helping another person on the way, but at the same time, you know that the person or people that you are helping are struggling. They are dealing with the struggle, itself – not to mention all the emotions that go along with it. I don’t know how aware I was of this, until recently, when I found myself in a conversation with a friend. She has been having a rough go of it. They had some problems with a business they owned that fell on hard times and they were just at the point of beginning to dig themselves out of a bad financial time. She was telling me how she was recently hit with two fieldtrips in two weeks for each of her two children and that the cost would be a total of $120. Now that’s expensive for anyone, but when you are handling current expenses on top of past expenses, that becomes impossible. So, as hard as it was, she pushed down her pride and called the school and explained her situation. The school was great about it and even contacted another agency on her behalf to offer help with Christmas for her children. She was SO thankful for the help and offer, but like any of us, was struggling with her pride. Every Christmas, she had been the one that picked the angels off the trees at Target and other stores and donated toys to children in need. How could she reconcile that she was now the one in need?
Let’s be honest – it’s HARD to ask for help. It’s hard to be honest when you are struggling. For whatever reason, we’ve somehow tricked ourselves in to thinking that our financial success or hardships are the same as our worth. Soooo not true, but that doesn’t change the fact that for many of us, taking a hit to your paycheck or family income is the same as tarnishing your self-esteem and how you feel about your world. And so it was for my friend. Not only was it hard asking for help in the first place, but when additional resources were offered, it was equally hard to accept.
You know in life, as the old saying goes – “Sometimes you’re the bat and sometimes you’re the ball…” and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. When you’ve been the one on the receiving end of charity, it means a lot more to you when you do have the opportunity to give back. You know, firsthand, what those families may be dealing with. It becomes less about yourself and how proud you are of yourself for giving, and becomes truly about helping the other person on the other end. Why? Because you’ve been there. I thought it was a great thing that she was accepting the help…she needed it and she would be someone to put that kindness right back in to the world – the way we believe it should be.
Times are less than ideal right now for so many people – so if you are fortunate enough to be able to help out – the timing has never been better. Whether its Pass It On, Baby! or another of the many, many worthwhile charities, make a difference. If money is tight for you, drop off some Halloween candy at a local food pantry or gather some neighbors together to send some Halloween candy overseas to our soldiers. Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a Shelter. Visit the dollar store and pick up some coloring books to drop at a local shelter or church – rest assured, you are making a difference. And if you happen to have children, make sure to do it while they are watching. These little moments build together to form their character. And these little characters we build in turn, become our future society. Its your daily chance to change the world….. =)
In love and kindness,
Email Elizabeth & Heather