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Acts of Altruism IV

Just as I promised, here is my Friday blog dedicated to helping us find good things we can do for people who are in need. Interestingly enough, my sister and I passed a Goodwill store in a shopping center today while we were out wasting a little time. I love thrift stores, so I dragged her inside so I could see if there might be anything I could repurpose.

First, let me catch you up on a little history about this important organization. The mission of Goodwill Industries, according to its website, is that:

“Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”

If you’re like me, you probably thought Goodwill was all about collecting used items and selling them to customers to make money for a foundation that would help low-income families. But that is not the central idea. The purpose of this charity is to educate, train, and empower people who need help getting a job.goodwill_industries_logo-svg

Over 312,000 people were trained for careers last year, including people with disabilities, seniors, veterans, young people, those with criminal histories, and others with special needs.

The store we visited, in Jackson, Mississippi, was neat, organized, filled with items, and run by employees who were extremely helpful. A beautiful lady in a wheelchair was the greeter at the front door, who informed us of sales for the day and an upcoming customer appreciation day. The ladies who helped us with merchandise were accommodating, friendly, and knowledgeable.

To me, it looked like Goodwill Industries was doing exactly what its mission statement says it’s supposed to be doing. I purchased a gorgeous jacket and my sister bought every goldtone bangle bracelet they had. After all, they were only four for $1.

I really hope that blogging about this heroic institution will bring at least one more person through their doors who might not have known what a special place it is. I’m thinking that person will not be disappointed.

Dilemma

O.K., here’s my situation. I was in Michael’s a week or two ago with my sister. We were having a swell time when I came across some very chunky yarn. Now, I had done my research and knew that chunky yarn, in general, is a little expensive, but this yarn (yes, it was unraveled and the paper holding it together had been ripped off one skein) was only $5.99 each.

I got all excited and, of course, bought it, using my senior discount and all the coupons I had. I bought a few other things, so my coupons were doing double-duty. I put those babies in my cart, took my bag to the car, and whistled all the way home.

I have never worked with chunky yarn before for the reason I have already explained, so I did not know how much of these gargantuan skeins I would need for a throw for my husband, It looked like a lot of yarn to me.

I began my throw (old-timey word for throw – afghan) and reveled at its softness and coziness, making my hubby touch it and pet it every time he passed by me. Was I ever surprised when these two huge balls of yarn produced this finished outcome:

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Sooooooooooooooooooooooo, I could try to find this strange-colored, possibly discontinued, probably completely different dye lot yarn online or at Michael’s or at Michael’s online :). Or I could frame this rectangle with another color. Any thoughts?

I’m new at crocheting, but I love it so. I bet I won’t be deceived by the size of bulky yarn skeins again. I will double the amount I think I need. Stay tuned for the solution !

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Banned

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Just hearing the word “banned” makes me feel a little sick. Whether it’s used as a word meaning to forbid or suppress, or it is used to mean excluding or expelling, it’s a word to which I have a visceral reaction.

One of my first forays into understanding this word was in high school when we were learning about books being burned by the Nazis. The books to burn were selected based on their subversive natures. This was a time in my life when books were very important to me. I wouldn’t even take notes or underline in my textbooks. Seeing pictures of “un-German” books being lit with matches and engulfed in flames was at the same time frightening and senseless to my young brain.

In my home state, hearing the word “banned” catapults me back to the 1950s and 1960s when Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation. African Americans were banned from white restaurants, drinking fountains, and restrooms, among many other places.They were not allowed to  be a part of white workplaces, institutions, clubs, or the military.

I wish that I could wrap up today’s thoughts by saying something like,”I know that being banned is a terrible thing in whatever context it appears, but at least today, we do not have to face the hurt and humiliation of banned books or banned human beings,” but I can’t because it’s just not so.

In Kentucky, this year at a certain high school, students who had hairstyles such as dreadlocks, Afros of over two inches in length, cornrows, and mohawks were banned from their high school prom. And according to the American Library Association, in the past decade, there were 5,099 “challenges” against books that were deemed by some to have inappropriate content or were simply inappropriate overall.

Thankfully, the ALA “condemns” censorship, believing it is “still a very serious problem.” It is beyond their control, however, to monitor all schools and libraries in the nation which receive challenges and take the books off school and library shelves without the ALA knowing.

So it’s not time yet to pat ourselves on the back and enjoy a victory lap around the track. We, as a country, still have a long way to go.

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” Nelson Mandela

Shine

One day recently, a writing prompt was tossed out using the word “shine.” I have several reasons why I want to riff on that word. First, I had a friend who once told me that I was like the crow character in the outstanding piece of children’s literature, Charlotte’s Web. I took that as a compliment because I knew it was true. I happen to love shiny things. Even though many scientists disagree, too much anecdotal information has been passed around for me to disagree with the ones who seem to know. Crows like shiny things and so do I.

And it does feel a little out of my control.I’m cuckoo over glittery, sparkly things. If it’s shiny, even if it is cheesy, plastic, fake, or a knock off, I am going to choose it, whatever “it” may be. I feel better having gotten that out of my system.

Take, for example, the mirror in my bathroom. I wanted a Mexican silver leaning mirror more than anything I could imagine a few years ago. But, alas, a silver mirror was a little bit above my pay scale. Where did I go? I went to Pinterest, Silly.  And here is what came from that research.

 

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It’s just an old door with a Walmart unframed mirror glued onto it. Then glue is used to sketch out the design. When the glue is dry, aluminum foil is laid over the  designs and smoothed out with fingers or the eraser tip of a pencil. Hooray!

Same sort of thing happened when a friend gave me an old frame the other day. She owns a frame shop and has to replace many old frames. Lucky me, right? So, although I usually I like to make trays from frames, this time I happened to have a $1.00 mirror from the Dollar Tree and thought maybe a shiny, bedazzled mirror was in order. And look what happened! Not finished, but it is shiny.

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So, my dear, sweet friends, do not leave any silver, aluminum, glass, or mirror-like objects where I can see them because like that crow, I just might abscond with them.

Three Days – Three Quotes III

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Albert Einstein

This is a part of a networking activity between bloggers. This particular activity involves quotations. Read on and I’m pretty sure you will get it.🙂

As an educator, this is a quote i have always held in high esteem. After all, helping young ones gain knowledge and expertise became my central life’s work. But this quote, from a man whose very name conjures intellect and achievement, caught me happily off guard.

I began to think of those who have made a mark on the world and quickly discovered that for many of these success-oriented people, imagination played a huge part in their careers.

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Walt Disney, for example, showed an interest in drawing in his childhood, and by 18 was a commercial illustrator. The rest is history, as they say, but the immense impact of imagination on not only this man’s life, but also all who have been touched by his work in all its iterations, cannot be argued. Though he may have been and remains controversial, the man had a vision.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was in a league of his own when it came to Renaissance art, sculpture, and architecture. Some even say he was the greatest artist of all time. His skills, techniques, and talent were beyond compare.

He once said, “I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” How’s that for imagination? And yet, on many occasions, he spoke of how difficult and draining the actual labor of making art could be.

Imagining, daydreaming, visualizing, whatever you want to call it, we all have it, and we all need to use it as much as possible.

The rules for the Three Day – Three Quotes challenge are as follows:
1.A quote will be assigned each day for three days.
2.Three different nominees will be notified each day (no repetitions).
3.Thank the person who nominated you.
4.Inform the nominees.

Thank you to the Settle in El Paso family for nominating me to become part of this generous challenge. Take a look at their blog, it will fill you with happiness.

My nominees for today are:

Three Days – Three Quotes II

This is a part of a networking activity between bloggers. This particular activity involves quotations. Read on and I’m pretty sure you will get it. 🙂

A bell is not a bell till you ring it. A song is not a song till you sing it. Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.”

Oscar Hammerstein II

I’ve already told you that everything I know I learned from Broadway musicals. Well, this is a little-known verse that introduces the song “I am Sixteen, Going on Seventeen” in  the musical The Sound of Music. I may be wrong, but I think Maria sings it to Liesl before the reprise of the “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” song. And, of course, I love it.

But I find that many things I loved for one reason or another when I was younger, mean more to me as I look back on them.

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And now that I have known love in so many different forms, I realize that Mr. Hammerstein was speaking of love as an action. His reference to a bell is a perfect metaphor to explain that love is an action. And when I love another person, my dogs, my children, and children in general, for example,  speaking the words “I love you” is special, but hugging, helping, supporting, spending time with, listening, showing up, feeding, and back-rubbing, to name but a few, are the actions that solidify the love I feel inside me for another.

Might there be a “bell” in your life that needs ringing?

 

The rules for the Three Day – Three Quotes challenge are as follows:
1.A quote will be assigned each day for three days.
2.Three different nominees will be notified each day (no repetitions).
3.Thank the person who nominated you.
4.Inform the nominees.

Thank you to the Settle in El Paso family for nominating me to become part of this generous challenge. Take a look at their blog, it will fill you with happiness. Thank you El Paso family for following my blog as well.

My nominees for today are:

1.bythestand.com

2.lifeofcreativityblog.com

3.talkaholicme.wordpress.com

Acts of Altruism II

It’s Friday, my day to share an idea with all of you that might get us in the mood to help other people. This week I want to talk about Samaritan’s Purse, specifically their Operation Christmas Child program.

As I’ve already shared, I am looking for things I can do that fit within my skill set and my time schedule. A few  months ago I read an article in a magazine about this particular charity and became intrigued. This was something I could do at home and that would make a difference. Well, don’t you know a few weeks after seeing the article, I met a lady in the yarn aisle at Walmart.

We began talking and she explained she was looking for yarn she could use as a washcloth. After chatting awhile, she mentioned she was a part of the Samaritan’s Purse charity. I had my  notebook with me in which I jot down things to remember, and I showed her where I had made a note to myself to find out more about this organization. I’m thinking this meeting was meant to be.

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Operation Christmas Child is a Christian-affiliated program, but at its heart, it reflects the universal idea that children who have very little “need a little Christmas” as Auntie Mame so famously said. (Everything I know I learned from Broadway musicals.)

Another thing I love about this program is that the small presents that are donated are packed into shoe boxes, so each child gets his or her own little box. Take a look and see if this might be an act of altruism you’d be interested in joining. If not, we’ll have another idea next Friday!

 

Three Days – Three Quotes

This is a part of a networking activity between bloggers. This particular activity involves quotations. The first day’s quote is one by Mother Teresa, and it is:

“I think, love begins at home.”

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Mother Teresa said in this quotation something I believe wholeheartedly. There are times when I beat myself up for not having a special cause. Or I get angry with myself because I don’t go to a nearby school and read to the students. I am, after all, a former teacher. And even though I wrote about it just this week, I have not entered even one of my dogs in the Service Dog Training School.

But St. Teresa has said exactly what I have thought for a long time, and that is “charity begins at home.” That being said, I also believe the quote that says, “Charity begins at home, but should not end there.”

Don’t follow my lead and become masochistic because you believe you are not doing enough for the “world.” Let your helpfulness, generosity of spirit, honesty, forgiveness, and acceptance begin with those whom you love and to whom you are closest. There will come the time when you will feel led to “let your light shine in the world.”

 

The rules for the Three Day – Three Quotes challenge are as follows:
1.A quote will be assigned each day for three days.
2.Three different nominees will be notified each day (no repetitions).
3.Thank the person who nominated you.
4.Inform the nominees.

Thank you to the Settle in El Paso family for nominating me to become part of this generous challenge. Take a look at their blog, it will fill you with happiness. Thank you El Paso family for following my blog as well.

My nominees for today are:

1.SerendipiDIY

2.Crochet539

3.ithinkisayido.wordpress.com

 

 

 

99 Word Challenge

This post is in response to Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch Communications’ Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. I was intrigued by this writing exercise that consists of only  99 words and knew I had to give it a try. The prompt for this week, which is renewed each Wednesday, is “Walk Across Sand.”

I’ll take any opportunity to practice my writing, and I think Charli is a very interesting person, so here’s my story.

Sand in Her Soul

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She grew up on the beach and was twelve-years-old

 before she knew

 that all beaches did not have

 sand that looked like pearlized glitter.

 She used tanning lotion when she was on the Gulf side of the island

and was unaware of the sun’s effect.

But she did know about the secret,

she just did not know what the secret was.

She thought about it most of the time.

Secrets are fear-filled and ugly. So, finding out

what could not be spoken

was not one of her top priorities.

Not knowing was better than the knowing was to be.