Good Things

I am writing this blog in response to Damyanti Biswas’ call for adding a bit of light to what seems to be a rather dark world at this time in our history. The idea is to obliterate the hate and negativity we have all become so used to seeing and hearing and to move our gaze to those things which are positive. Damyanti’s site is Daily (W)rite.

I went looking for a story that would raise our hearts up to the sky, and I think I found a winner. Ernesto Rodriguez is walking across America to raise awareness for veterans who have returned from the war, only to commit suicide when they come home.

Rodriguez is making the trek from his hometown, Clarksville, Tennessee to Los Angeles, California, and is keeping a journal as he travels the 2,200 miles he has set out to finish. His hashtag #Forthe22 stands for the approximately 22 warriors who commit suicide every day in the US.

This journey has personal relevance for the 34-year-old since he shares that he attempted suicide on two occasions. WFAA8 Dallas reports:

“I was in a really bad way after my first tour in Afghanistan and my second,” he said in the interview. “I have a daughter, and she would have been without a father. And that’s what I think about when thoughts like that creep up.”

Rodriguez does not accept donations himself but asks that the people he meets and the folks who hear about his trek send their donations to veteran’s charities*. He also requests that people find a veteran with whom they can be friends.

*Some organizations aimed at helping veterans include:

Wounded Warrior Project

Disabled Veterans

Army Emergency Relief Fund

Air Force Aid Society

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

National Military Family Association

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Renewing

This is what I love about entering into a new year. Even at 70, or maybe because I am 70, I feel that turning the proverbial page and seeing that there is another year to enjoy makes me feel renewed. I am past the point of making resolutions, and I have promised myself never to use the word “diet” again, but it does occur to me that the coming twelve months will be like opening a new box of crayons. So I am going to “re-establish” a few things in my life, if I can find the courage, keep the ideas straight in my mind, and persist.

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Number one is reconnecting with people I love. I have allowed myself to isolate a little too much in the past years, and I want to change that and resurrect myself, as it were.

I also want to practice being passionate. I am fortunate to have several gifts and talents that I love to use, but this year I want to savor and take delight in the possibilities. I want my crocheting, writing, building, gardening, and jewelry-making to take on a new glow, a fresh aspect, as if I were learning to do these things for the first time.

And, above all else, I am not going to be fearful. I’m talking about that free-floating anxiety that has no basis in reality, but which feels as true as being bitten by a snake. I’m throwing that emotion away, erasing it from my persona, kicking it into the an imaginary junk yard somewhere in another galaxy. That emotion has not served me well and will no longer be my “go-to” state.

I also want to give more. Not in a sanctimonious way, but because it makes me feel so dang good myself. It seems to me, if I could do one good thing every day for someone who needs that one good thing, my days would be enormously happier than if I did not do that one small, seemingly trivial thing.

To those who blog, those who read our blogs, and to everyone who reads this page:

Here’s to a Happy and Prosperous 2017!

 

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!

 

Acts of Altruism

A new feature on The Muses’ Emporium will take place every Friday. Starting today, Friday blogs will center around things we can do for others. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the simple definition of the word “altruism” is: feelings and behavior that show a desire to help other people and a lack of selfishness.

I love my life and enjoy living on my little six-acre farm with my dear husband and our four dogs. I love our children and grandchildren and love finding ways to surprise and delight them whenever I can. But the one thing I feel my life is lacking is reaching out beyond my family and friends and making a difference in the community and world around me.

So, each Friday I am going to feature ideas, programs, and activities that will hopefully act as a reminder to myself, and perhaps some of you, to share skills, talents, and time with those in need.

My first idea comes by way of a friend of mine who recently lost her precious and cherished dog. They joined together to share love and comfort to patients, the elderly, children, and people in crisis or anxiety-filled situations. Her pet was a service dog who touched so many lives during her time here.

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Therapy dogs can be any breed, any age, any size, shape or color, and training can be administered by the owner, a professional trainer, or a training organization. Getting your dog ready to serve or assist can take from six months to a year, and 30 hours of the training must take place in a “controlled public setting”so that the dog can become adjusted to people and can learn to be obedient and unobtrusive.

Service dogs are trained to help those who are:

  • disabled
  • visually impaired
  • hearing impaired
  • mentally ill
  • suffer from a seizure disorder
  • mobility impaired
  • diabetic

 

To learn more, visit Assistance Dogs International. If you have a therapy dog or join with your dog to provide service to those in nursing homes or schools, please share your knowledge and activities with us. Here’s to more service animals in this world!