Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Doing for Others

Have you been tagged not once but several times to donate to a cause? Your first thought is I have no money, I'm already living paycheck to paycheck. Why do we tend to over complicate a request or feel guilty. What if I told you that there are several ways to contribute to your community that do not involve money of any kind but just a few hours of time away from the television. The first step in making a change in your community is saying your going to do something about it. The second step is partnering with an organization that already has a connection within the community. The third step is becoming a volunteer. Do these three steps free of charge. What a concept, I know, light bulb. It's okay, there are thousands of people that have said the same thing before. You're not alone. Since I was in grammar school I have consistently volunteered to different causes. Conducting ESL classes, assisting in adult literacy programs, teaching cooking skills to single mothers, advocating for children rights, serve as a crisis representative and the list goes on. All these volunteer positions require no money, just a few hours of your time for a lifetime of memories. Non-profit organizations serving your community rely on your volunteer hours. To make an impact in your community, commit to volunteering at least 2 hours a week in any capacity, you would be surprised how much you can do from your home. After trial and error here is how my family does it, yes it's a family affair in my house, we all contribute in some capacity. Here is the list of things my family has volunteered for, in no particular order.

1. Salvation Army has a variety of volunteer opportunities, from employment ready services, food drives, clothes drives and coat drives. Although a faith based organization, it is not a prerequisite when volunteering.

Side note: Do not be disheartened by trying to partner with organizations that do not allow you to volunteer because of your faith. Unfortunately, some organizations make it a requirement for not only the volunteer but also the client. I'm still trying to understand this concept.

2. Cook a meal at home for organizations that serve the homeless, this is my favorite, I love to cook so I often end up in the kitchen baking. I'm still learning how to freeze banana nut bread so I can make it in larger quantities for more than 1 organization. Here are 2 organizations that service the homeless in Chicago, Humble Hearts and The Puerto Rican Project.

3. Make food sacks, prepackaged foods are the best. Surprisingly, there are some really mean people out there that have made lunch sacks with harmless products in sandwiches, making homeless individuals sick. So unless your partnering with a trusted organization, I would suggested making lunch sacks with prepackaged items. Make sure to add a note of inspiration, a simple note goes a long way.

4. Collect as many plastic shopping bags as you can and make knitted mats for the homeless. Two amazing ladies I had the pleasure of meeting over four years ago showed my Girl Scouts how to use plastic shopping bags for the benefit of the homeless. Collect as many bags as you can and join a community event to learn how to make these mats. Once you've learned make them on your own you can donate to an organizations that can distribute on your behalf.

5. Did you know that there is a large population of young adults ages 16 to 21 that are homeless in Chicago? It's a hard fact to swallow when your home in your cozy bed with a full belly. What if I told you that there are several organizations in Chicago that house these young adults and provide them life skills to prepare them to join the workforce. These same organizations teach these young adults how to become independent. Volunteering for organizations like Night Ministries is a great way to use your skills for good. Maybe teach a baking class, teach a young adult about finances or sponsor a group talk.

In the end, if you can dream it you can do it. If you see an opportunity to help your own community or another one nearby, no matter how much it makes you uncomfortable, just do it. I promise you that it will change you as a person and warm your heart. Remember this, stats show that for each volunteer hour you provide you are saving an organization $23.07/hr.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Do you see a Leader in you?

Feeling like middle income class at work? How often have you heard the phrase manage up? 

I've gone to several communication classes and I hear speakers say, you don't want to manage up and others that say the opposite.  I say MANAGE UP! 

Did you know that even if you are not in management you can be an effective leader? Did you know that your suggestions and work ethic do make a difference.  Even when you have an ineffective leader taking ownership of your current role makes you a leader.  

Leaders are many, those that set the tone for the office or even department.  Leaders are people like YOU that go to work every day on time and ready to work. You think others don't see you but they do.  It's being an effective communicator, valuing your position and knowing that everything you do does make a difference. 

Feeling like moving on to another company because your manager sucks or your not happy at work? How about gaining some courage and defining your own role.  Summarize your own duties and look at your current job description, how off are they? Probably a lot. Take charge, write it up and go have a meeting with your manager and ask them to review your work.  Don't be afraid to ask for a challenge with the intent to be promoted or given a challenge.  Even if you don't stay you can take with you KNOWLEDGE.  

Here's an excellent book on LEADERSHIP. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Keep moving forward

Everyday we are given a chance to leave our mark on the world. How will you contribute to your community today? I don't claim to be Mother Theresa but I expect to live my life to the fullest by achieving my dreams, helping others achieve their dreams, teaching my children the same principles and paying no attention to the haters.

If there is one thing I have learned over the years is that there is always someone there to tell you every step of the way how much you are wasting your time. That's why you have to keep walking while tuning out the negativity.

Just remember that you never walk alone. Believe in yourself and surround yourself by positive people. Wake up everyday seizing the day!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Thinking Outside the Box

Thinking outside the box, really does just mean, THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!

How many close minded people have you crossed paths with? Are you one? Are you open to new experiences? Have you tried something new in the last 30 days?   Are you always the one that says NO to spontaneous activities? If you said YES to any of the above questions you haven't been living life to the fullest.

It's okay to color outside the lines! Anytime you want! The same applies to other people. No one is perfect. STOP BEING SO SENSITIVE TO EVERYONE ELSE'S BEHAVIOR! JUST BE YOU! I don't mean to shout but how many of us just need to hear it a little louder? I know I do sometimes.

Trying something new is not just diving out of an airplane, although I admit, I don't think I could ever do that. I would however go do indoor skydiving, that seems safe, I think, but still nerve wrecking. Hmm...maybe I need to think about that one. :)

Recently I took up designing spaces again.  I've often doodled here and there but remodeling my basement has really taught me the true meaning of  "patience is a virtue." I forgot how much drawing makes me happy.  It's good for the brain. I've had to draw out spaces over and over because the ideas keep coming to me, so I'm learning to have patience with my own brain.

So my new task in the next few weeks is getting my husband to teach me how to properly use the table saw and make some of my projects. First up, shadow boxes. Wish me luck!

Oh and one more thing, you don't always have to do these activities with only those in your household. Try venturing off and doing new things with new people or those you haven't seen in weeks, maybe months, wow that would really be coloring outside the line! :)

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 and the next 30lbs

In 2013 I lost 24lbs and 4 dress sizes.  I'm still sitting in between 2 dress sizes right now and part of that has to do with taking on too much in the last 6 months.  When you are well equipped, have the right meal plan and have all the moral support you need, there should be no excuse to not GET IT DONE!

For me 2014 brings a REBOOT and New Exercise Plan. I hurt my back in June 2013 and since then have done stretching and walking.  I had to limit my CORE cardio workouts until I rediscovered YOGA!

So 2014 brings a new ROBOOT meal plan and YOGA.  I'm committed to the next 30lbs.  I set a reasonable goal in 2013 and did it.  Now in 2014 I'm ready for the next chapter.  Along with my next 30lbs of weight loss, I want to drop another 4-5 dress sizes and tone my arms and legs.

Surprisingly much of this can be done without having to lift any weights.  For someone with back issues and a busy lifestyle, like me, YOGA was the answer. YOGA has many elements that help you relieve stress, build muscle control and strength.  YOGA is also a good CARDIO workout without all the jumping and moving around. 

Whatever it is you want to try, set a goal and do it. Your WILLPOWER is much stronger than you think!

Happy New Year! Catch you in a few!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hello World

Late March I started going to kickboxing. That was right after doing a month of P90X.  Now look at me and I'm still juicing and eating much healthier meals. My goal is to loose another 20lbs or one dress size in the next five weeks.
My doctor advised me not to weigh myself anymore because she sees I'm on the right path. She encouraged me to measure myself because tje weight will come off naturally.
I'm even more motivated to keep going now that my doctor says I'm doing all the right things. I have to only reduce my fiber intake because I'm retaining too much water.
Even if your not over weight you should still not neglect your body. Treat it right. Be healthy my friends.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Your Health

You are the most important person to yourself.  Honor your body by doing things to prevent illness. Visit your doctor once a year to talk about your pains or health in general.  No more can we use the excuse we don't have the copay.

We need to be proactive. My family depends on me but most importantly others do as well. I want to be the example not the exception.

Women go see your doctor and men you too.