Posts Tagged ‘Feel-Good’

12.12.09 + help-portrait.com = More Receiving Than Giving

I love my life.

I’m blessed with a husband that thinks I’m sexy in a pair of sweats and no makeup after nearly 16 years together. I’m blessed with two amazing children. I’m blessed with a job that pays a fair wage. And I’m blessed with a home that has heat in the winter and A/C in the summer.

My children do not want for anything. Me and the LOML are able to provide for our family in such a manner that we can eat out once in a while, keep groceries in the fridge, keep our vehicles maintained, and plan trips to Disneyland.

Others are not that fortunate.

(I dare you to watch the second video without shedding one tear.)

I know I’m a little late to this party, and 12.12.09 is just 36 hours away. But that’s no excuse.

I’ve got an idea of what I’d like to do, but I need to clear it through the proper channels first.

If YOU’VE got a camera, or know a make-up artist, or have a friend that does hair, then see if anyone else in your city is participating in the 12.12.09 help-portrait.com movement.

Even if you don’t have a camera or don’t know anyone who does hair or makeup, you can STILL make a difference.

Take a few hours on Saturday and volunteer at a shelter. Tell a few fun stories and make someone laugh.

Or just listen.

That doesn’t cost a dime, but the dividends are priceless.

10

12 2009

A Different Kind of Recognition

CB065332Prior to yesterday, it had been exactly 32 months since I had attended an awards ceremony.

Back in August of 2006, filled with anticipation and apprehension, I followed my then-Cookie Lee Director and fellow members of my unit into the Anaheim Convention Center Arena for two hours of cheerleading, motivation, and speeches given by women who had achieved recognition for the company’s highest honors. Even I had received recognition for earning a trip (which I chose to cash out), sales awards, and recruiting honors. The following day, the company awarded approximately 25 Mercedes Benz sedans to Cookie Lee’s top unit leaders. I was floored.

As I left for home, I remember thinking it was a weekend well spent: I’d received recognition, company training, motivation to be a “car achiever,” and the “opportunity” to meet women whom I thought were positively changing the lives of others.

And I now know that the thought was, at best, regrettable.

Because yesterday afternoon, I learned what true recognition of the human spirit is supposed to look like.

It’s not an event where you and your guest are charged $65 per person for rubber chicken and a photo-op with the company’s founder. It’s not disingenuous influence cloaked in motivation. Nor is it 240 minutes filled with duplicitous speeches or the distribution of expensive cars with strings attached.

No. Recognition of the human spirit is a room filled with nearly two thousand people, all of whom have helped save a life in some manner or another. It’s showing appreciation to the individual who has volunteered to donate blood so often, that he/she could literally fill a 10-gallon jug with what they have given. Or a 20-gallon jug. Or a 25-gallon jug.

It’s the acknowledgment of selfless individuals who have given more than 100 units of blood, plasma, and/or platelets. Or 500 units. Or even 1400 units.

I spent my Sunday afternoon at a celebration for people who generously (and continuously) give a part of themselves for no other reason than to help someone in need. The ceremony was brilliantly simple; an orchestration of miraculous stories told by transfusion recipients mixed with recognition of everyday heroes. There were no acceptance speeches. No copious amounts of artificial personas. And Queen’s “We Are the Champions” did not play over the PA system. It can only be defined as an abundance of bravery, courage, and strength woven together to provide comfort at a time when many of those who attended could use it.

A donation of just one unit of whole blood has the potential to save up to three lives.

There were 1,700 people in attendance at yesterday’s awards ceremony. Many of whom are lifelong repeat blood donors.

You do the math.

Give blood. And give often.

That’s how you make a positive change in the lives of others.

09

03 2009

A 12-Year-Old That “Gets It” (A.K.A. Logan, the Sky Angel Cowboy)

I had this awesome post ready for today. I was going to be cheeky and quirky and send you all off in hysterics and wish you well for the Holidays.

Then I received an e-mail from a friend that stated:

Subject Line: “You’ll Be Sorry if You Don’t”

Message: At this special time of year – I would like you to take a couple minutes and listen to this. It’s a remarkable phone call from a 12-yr old boy to Houston radio station KSBJ FM 89.3 .

So profound, the station has it posted on their website.

Click below to listen to it. It’s short. You’ll be sorry if you don’t!

(You won’t have any bad luck or that kind of stuff . . . You’ll just miss out on something VERY SPECIAL!)

So, I clicked on the link, and the whole thing had me in tears. If it doesn’t make you cry, then you don’t have a heart.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCdZwitrNoY&rel=1]

I secretly wish I could raise my boys to understand the Message as well as Logan.

May you have a wonderful weekend, and–if I get too busy to post next week–a fantastic Christmas.

21

12 2007

The Right Kind of Christmas Story

This year, my husband and I decided that we would forego purchasing Christmas gifts for our friends, family, and their children.

The inspiration for this decision came to me as I looked through a stack of Christmas lists compiled by third graders of a local elementary school where ALL students qualify for the lunch program. (Meaning, all students come from families that are at–or below–the poverty line.) I’d volunteered to sponsor a couple of the students so that they would receive at least one Christmas gift this year, and was not to spend more than $25 per child.

The lists contained items such as dry-erase white boards and markers, backpacks, books, turtlenecks, sweatshirts, and blankets. Some even requested presents for their parents or siblings.

They weren’t asking for anything extravagant–they just wanted things that most of us take for granted.

That’s when it hit me: For the price of one PlayStation game cartridge, I can sponsor two school children. Multiply that by how many gifts that I usually buy at Christmas, and I could probably sponsor the whole class (or a “Dear Santa” family, or two families affected by the San Diego Fires, and so on.)

At that point, there was no turning back for me. I sent a note out to my family and friends, stating that we would be purchasing gifts for unfortunate children instead of gifts for them.

I didn’t know how it would be received, but I really didn’t care. (Most were pleased–and a few were proud–of our decision.)

My husband and I have also decided to make this an annual tradition.

If you’ve got a few bucks left over in your Christmas budget, pay it forward, and sponsor someone who needs it.

PS: Below is a story I came across on the internet. I hope that our tradition lives on through our children the same way as it did for the children of the family in the story.

A Christmas Story

It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas–oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it: Overspending . . . the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma . . . the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black.

These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.

It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”

Mike loved kids–all kids–and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.

On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.

His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition–one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal it’s contents.

As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.

You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more. Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope. Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.

May we all remember each other, and the Real reason for the season, and His true spirit this year and always. God bless—pass this along to your friends and loved ones.

— Copyright © 1982 Nancy W. Gavin
— Submitted by Edwin G. Whiting

The story first appeared in Woman’s Day magazine in 1982. My mom had sent the story in as a contest entry in which she subsequently won first place. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer two years after the story was published. Our family still keeps the tradition started by her and my father and we have passed it on to our children. Feel free to use the story. It gives me and my sisters great joy to know that it lives on and has hopefully inspired others to reach out in a way that truly honors the spirit of Christmas. — Kevin Gavin

20

12 2007

“Young People Who Rock”: Cell Phones For Soldiers

I’ve been following the “Young People Who Rock” blog for a while now, and I thought I’d share one of the most recent posts:

Monday, December 10, 2007
Cell Phones for Soldiers

“Hey mom … I love you and miss you, but I’m pretty busy … so gotta go … Bye.”

I talk to my mom several times a day, and probably like a lot of people, I take it for granted. That’s a feeling that only gets stronger when you consider soldiers who are in a war zone this holiday season and how expensive calling loved ones overseas can be.

When Brittany and Robbie Bergquist of Norwell, Massachusetts, heard of a soldier having to pay almost $8,000 for a phone bill to call his family from Iraq, they wanted to do something. With $21, the brother and sister duo, then 12 and 13, respectively, started Cell Phones for Soldiers. The organization turns old cell phones into minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas.

People donate their old phones to the teens. They came up with the idea to sell them to a recycler for $5 and use the money to buy calling cards. Since they started three years ago, the pair has raised more than $1 million in donations and sent 400,000 minutes to troops. They hope to increase that amount nearly tenfold in the next five years so that more soldiers can call and say, “Hey, Mom.”

13

12 2007