Why I Love Helping Others

What is the Meaning of Life

There is nothing more important in the world than helping others. As humans, we’re always questioning the meaning of life, but taking care of our Earth, animals and our fellow humans is the only purpose that makes any sense. It’s good to enjoy our life with our family and friends, trying to make the most of our short time, but honestly, when our life is over, what is left?

Helping Others is Key

I’m not sure how others justify the pain in their life, but for me the one that makes it bearable is the idea that it might help someone else. There is a saying that when bad things happen, you can either break apart or break open. The first leaves us broken, shattered, and most likely in a place where hurting others is our only form of communication. The latter leaves us stretched – with a greater capacity to hold that which is still yet to come.

Holiday Project

I am fortunate that I came from a family that also encourages a life of helping others. In the times of hardship and trial, the mentality to reach out and help others instead of withdraw is more easily reached.

At our Christmas 2015 get together, our family decided instead of giving gifts, we would have contest to give gifts for the homeless. This contest criteria was based on creativity, portability and usefulness. Our family is gifted with a wide variety of gifts and talents, so I was super excited to see what everyone came up with.

My grandmother came up with a go-bag. She repurposed a leather bag she had and filled it with every kind of tool and kit a homeless person could need.

My mother used her talent of cooking, making 8 bags of food for her homeless contribution. The bags consisted of homemade banana bread and whole wheat bread and homemade peanut butter. The bread was packaged in a handy carrying case.

My aunt used repurposed jeans, shirts and pajamas to make a beautiful handmade quilt. Her entry ended up winning the competition.

I upcycled plastic bags, cutting into plarn. I used to the plarn and thrift store yarn to crochet bags, so the homeless could carry their goods in them. As much as I love to crochet, I’m pretty slow. I would have liked to make a lot more bags, but time just got away from me and I wasn’t able to keep up the pace. Plarn combines my joy for upcycling and crocheting, and this project was extra special because I got to share that joy and help others. It’s easy to find ways to help others without having to spend a lot of money or time.

Can’t get enough love? Check out what these other bloggers have to say about it!

Affordable Valentine Gift Ideas – House of Fauci’s
A Sign of Christ’s Love for Us – Curbside Overhaul

What gives meaning to life? Friends? Family? Money? Accomplishments? For me, it's all about helping others. Check out the article to find out why.

Save

Save

Finding New Beginnings in Acts of Kindness

New Beginnings

Sometimes finding new beginnings a joyful thing seems utterly impossible. They usually come off the end of something, which might leave just the shell of a person.  I remember when I first moved from kindergarten to first grade, even then I felt like life was falling apart because I had to leave the comfort of what I knew. Even after all these years, I have to chuckle to myself at all the times I freaked out at common life changes. Moving from grade school math to pre-algebra caused a major meltdown because I was so scared I couldn’t make it. It seems a bit absurd now, but then I just thought the worst was happening. Boy, if I only knew.

The New Year always brings me hope. Despite being in a sorrowful ending, I feel joy as I am finding new beginnings in acts of kindness.

Continue reading

How to Change the World: A Guide for Millennials

Why A Guide for Millennials?

Life on your own is a bit scary. I get it. I’ve been through job losses, roommate issues, and other things. Really, some of my worst fears have come to life and really I’d never thought I’d make it. But I am making it. I’m a perfectionist and mistakes I’ve always seen as a waste of time.  I wish I could take them all back, but if I did I would never know the amazing relief of knowing that I really can make it on my own.

Over the next few months, I will have to rely on my family more than I would like, but the fact that I’ve even made it this far is quite amazing to me. Most of my friends still haven’t left their parent’s house. I won’t be able to take back my mistakes, but I can use them to help others and I hope this guide for millennials will start that process. It won’t answer all the questions, but it will get you started to changing the world in no time.

Last week I wrote a message to millennials because I want to see this generation do great things and I believe we do have the right tools to do it. But some of us are a bit misguided about how the real world works. I decided to do some research and develop this guide for millennials. I want to see us make the difference, but first we’re going to have to realize a few things.

Life on your own is a bit scary. This guide for millennials won't answer all the questions, but it will get you started to changing the world in no time.

Continue reading

You Can Change the World: A Message for Millennials

Mixed Messages

If a had a penny for every article I’ve read that was a message for millennials, I’d have a lot of pennies. There’s a lot of mixed messages out there for millennials. Are we good, bad or indifferent? Lazy or we go getters? Are we going to change the world or we going to stay living in our mom’s basement forever?

If a had a penny for every article I've read that was a message for millennials, I'd have a lot of pennies and there's a lot of mixed messages. But we can stop playing into the stereotypes and actually change the world.

Two Sides

I too have mixed feelings about millennials. Supposedly, we’re the ones that break all the social norms and change the world. In some ways I see that. Our rally behind Bernie Sanders was pretty incredible. We’ve come up some of the best technology, we show the world how to accept others, and we care about the issues facing our world. We see the injustice, care about more than making money, and we have creative solutions.

But I also see the other side. I see millennials making more than parents and still not moving out. And the opposite, millennials who complain about the injustice of everything and still don’t work more than part time and minimum wage. There’s a lot of whining and not a lot of getting hands dirty. I see a LOT of selfies.

It’s Unfair

When I first had the idea for this article, my message for millennials was we should give ourselves a break. And in some ways that true. Millennials have it rough. So much is expected of us, but at the same time nothing is expected of us. We’re called self-centered, lazy and entitled. We’re told time after time, if we don’t get a degree, we’re going to fail eternally at life.

Then those same people hike up the tuition so high, there’s no way you could pay for it a reasonable amount of time. So then we graduate, with crap loads of debt, but we can’t find a job to pay it off. Guess where they are? Being hogged up by the same generation that told us we’re worthless for not going to college and the same people who say we’re stupid for racking up college debt. Quite a few things have changed since that generation went to college. Yes, people always had to work their way up, but the retirement age was significantly lower then. Also, the rate of inflation for college tuition is astronomical.

In 1950, a family sending their child to the University of Pennsylvania would only spend 18 percent of their annual income (if they paid in cash) to send their kid to study.  Today it would consume 79 percent of gross annual income.  Even if we look at net take home pay a regular family in no way could send their child to school without going into massive student debt.

What If?

I was going to say what if we’re not the lazy generation, but the efficient one? Why are we lazy for not wanting to go to college when there is a whole world of resources that we can look into for free?

Instead of waiting our turn and waiting until we’re 50, the elders finally retire, we’re going to do our own thing. Some might call it lazy or selfish, but we call it living.

Yes, we do live with mom and dad because we aren’t able to find a job that pays more than minimum wage because ‘we’re paying our dues’. Minimum wage times 40 hours= about $1,200 before taxes. Tell me, on what planet can a person find an apartment, pay the bills, plus all the extras that come up, buy food and still be able to save? It’s just not possible. For that reason, it’s hard not to play into their message for millennials- that we have no place in the workforce.

As a side note, I should say I KNOW not all millennials out there doing great things. They’re in the news, I read about them and I think wow! But I feel like those are the exceptions, not the rule. Those people who are the exceptions or know the exceptions might take issue with the next part, but I’m not talking about you. The rest of us need a pep in our step.

But…

And in a lot of ways these things are true. Seeing that I haven’t been alive to see how easy or hard the other generations had it, it’s kind of hard for me to really know, if we’re better or worse off than the other. I do see a unique situation that other generations haven’t faced. But in a lot of ways, I know that’s a bunch of crap.  There’s a reason I don’t spend a lot of time with my co-millennials and that’s simply because I can’t stand them. We got everything handed to us when we were kids and now we expect our dreams to be handed to us as well. We don’t want just a job, we want the standard of living our parents have when we haven’t earned it. And if I run into another person, who has stopped to take a selfie, I’m going to take their phone and smash it.

Yes, we want to change the world because the generations before us messed it all. We cry and wah, because the world isn’t right. But how do we go about doing that? Well, we post pictures with deep sayings and memes pointing out the hypocrisy in the world. I hate to say it, but that’s not really going to change anything. We’re going to actually get off our parent’s couches and get our hands dirty. We’re playing into their message for millennials- we’re lazy and self-centered.

Earn It

As far as student loans go, it’s understandable for millennials to be upset. Our folks told us to go to college, told us we won’t amount to much we don’t go, so we went. Now, we have all this debt and we still can’t a job for more than $7.50 an hour. But then again, I know quite a few students, who switched their major several times, instead of saving money they partied their way through school. Now, instead of finding ways to develop what they learned in school while looking for their dream job, they’re just complaining on their mom’s couch waiting for the perfect job to find them. Sorry, but a piece of paper doesn’t prove anything. Develop a portfolio, start a project, start your dream job in your mom’s basement, find the people who need it and find a way to get paid for it.

Why we’re not moving out on our own? Yes, the average student is walking away with a piece of paper that’s worth about $15,000 to $33,000 in debt. They’re putting off getting married, buying cars and houses because they simply can’t afford it. Many millennials graduated in the middle of the recession, so what are they supposed to do? Get a job? That’s madness!

Make Your Own Way

Yes, I get it. It’s infuriating to owe $33,000 in debt and still have to go work at McDonalds. It seems like the worst. Absolute worst. But sitting on your mom’s couch, not doing anything is so much worse. Seriously, go get a job. Any job. Work on your dream on the side, build up a network and a reputation and slowly work your hours down at the job you hate and replace it with your new income. You don’t need people’s permission or the perfect opportunity to do what you love, you just do it. Make a place for yourself. Millennials can change the world, but first they need to get over themselves.

And while you’re at it, put down the $5 coffee, cancel your Spotify and all your monthly box subscriptions, and yes you can live without the latest smart phone.

Message for Millennials

The thing I love is that millennials can change the world. We have the right tools. The disdain for corrupt institutions, the question of all traditions. My message for millennials is that we can’t allow these older generation to keep us down through debt and lack of jobs. It’s not all about happiness and rewards, but being able to look in the mirror and know we made a difference. Stop posting memes. Get out there and do something.

Next week I will get into more details about the steps we need to take make a difference in our communities and in our world.

If a had a penny for every article I've read that was a message for millennials, I'd have a lot of pennies and there's a lot of mixed messages. But we can stop playing into the stereotypes and actually change the world.

Save

Save

Be Thankful and Change the World

Why Should We Be Thankful

Being thankful might not change the entire the world, but for the handful of people you see on a consistent basis, you can definitely change their world. I think everyone has experienced the power of negativity. We all have that person that criticizes everything we do and we feel that we can never measure up. But have we ever stopped to consider the power of the opposite? The power of positive words? The power to be thankful? The thing is you have no idea what people are going through and the day you thank them might just be the day that they are at the end of their rope.

To be thankful might not change the entire the world, but for the handful of people you see on a consistent basis, you can definitely change their world.

Believe me, there is nothing more frustrating than that employee, significant other, boss, friend, partner, that just never seems to do what you want or need. You yell, complain, throw tantrums and still nothing changes. Again, you might have no idea what challenges that person is facing. They might have an unappreciative spouse, a demeaning boss, kids that are getting in trouble at school, money troubles or any number of things going on that keep them from doing a good job at what you need.

Try to Be Thankful

If the yelling and fighting has done nothing, try something new. Try thank you. Every one can do something good. Find something about that person that you can be thankful for then tell them. It might seem impossible at first, but not only will it change their world, and it might even change your perception of how you see them. It doesn’t even have to be something they’re good at. Maybe your wife is a terrible cook, but she still tries every night. Everyone is their own worst critic, I’d bet a fair amount that she knows she’s terrible, but still, she tries. A thank you would go such a long way to know that she is appreciated and still loved though she is not perfect.

If you have a terrible employee, but they show up every day, just say thank you. Some times just that small appreciation will go a long way in making them work even harder or believe in themselves enough to get results.

Life Happens

For probably the past 6 months, I’ve been working trying to be thankful, really working on telling people that I appreciate them. It was something that my mom drilled into me for a big portion of my life and I never did really listen. No big shocker there. It wasn’t until about two years after college, I had one terrible job, one job that was ok, but I got fired from, then one job where they promised to help me move up if I did well in their program but that never happened, then finally one really awesome job that I loved but felt pretty inadequate at, then finally the job I have now. As you can imagine that progression got pretty discouraging.

On top of that, I had a roommate, who messed up everything I cleaned, took credit for any progress I made and would always come to tell me how well they were doing, when I was in such a crappy place. It didn’t happen all at once and first I didn’t notice, but I just got lower and lower. Even if no one had seen my struggles, it would have changed my outlook on everything. Fast forward a year or so, I lost the job I loved because the company ran out of money. During the three months I didn’t have a job were the lowest of the low. I desperately needed a job, but everywhere I turned the doors shut in my face.

The Power of Appreciation

I had never felt so useless or so unworthy. All I had was my mom rooting me on and thanking me for getting out of bed and trying. I also had my cat, but he complains about everything, so not helpful. It was then that I realized the power of appreciation. When the world couldn’t care less, we all need that person telling us that they care. We need some one to tell us that we can do it when we think we can’t.

I’m sure everyone has their own story of the time when someone reaching out to show they care would have changed everything for them in that moment. Learn from those moments and be the thing you needed for others. I promise it will change you and that wholehearted goodness will come back to you when you need it most.

Real World Examples

I’m sorry because this is kind of side note, but one that I see all the time. When I am looking at product reviews and I have a choice between a company with no reviews and a company with tons, but they have mixed reviews, I’ll almost go with the company with no reviews. I’ve learned over the years, people are so much more likely to say something negative before they’ll ever say something positive, especially online. People are so quick to tear others down, but they always hold back when saying something good.

It’s so sad that we live in that kind of world and this lack of appreciate can really change someone’s world for the worst.. One-third of businesses fail within the first two years. Although, I have the most supportive family, I have several friends who say they get more support from strangers than their friends and family. Everyone congratulates you when you get a new job, but when you follow your dreams? Not a peep. People! Support each other! Know a friend who just started a business? Try their product or service, SAY THANK YOU and spread the word, leave a positive review, leave comments on their blogs, do something to bring that friend support. Even if you have no use for their product, like their business posts on Facebook when you see them. How hard is it to show support for your friend, who has taken the leap to follow their dreams?

Change the world and be thankful. It will not only change your world, but it will change the world of those around you.

We wrote this post as a collaborative effort. Here are some of other favorite pieces on thankfulness to get in the right mindset for Thanksgiving.

Thankful for Little Things– Little Sprouts Home Daycare

3 Ways Having a Baby Made Me Thankful– Tapestry Chronicles

The Moment We Share With the Children– Hello Daycare

Our Reason to Be Thankful? Second Chances– Curbside Overhaul

Cranberry Glazed Ham and Thankfulness– Cottage Making Mommy

Don’t forget this pinspiration for later!

To be thankful might not change the entire the world, but for the handful of people you see on a consistent basis, you can definitely change their world.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Why I Care About Our Environment

My Journey

Why do I care about our environment when caring for our environment is no easy task?

If you would have told me 15, even 10 years ago, that I would even put a moment of thought into my action into such a thing as Earth, I probably would have reacted in such a way that you’d think twice about letting me care about ANYTHING of yours.

But here I am, 24, and I sleep and live environmental issues. It’s all-consuming. It’s kind of struggle because I run into so few people who care or can understand my passion, but I just take care deep breaths and keep on, moving on. So how did I began my journey to care about our environment?

There are so many reasons why we should put in more effort to care about our environment. Learn more about my journey and reasons for environmental concern.

 

Continue reading

Motivation Monday- Find Your Uniqueness

What Makes You Unique

How do you find your uniqueness? The problem with the world is that no one wants to celebrate differences. We’re all afraid that if we’re too different then we won’t be accepted. We create a domino effect because those around us are afraid to show their unique qualities around us.  Some people spend their whole life trying to fit into a box, so they can be accepted, instead of stepping up and solve problems others can’t. That’s such a sad thought.

Need some motivation to start your week off? Just remember, "If everyone would look for that uniqueness then we would have a very wonderful world. " -Michael Schenker

Does this quote inspire you? Download it here.

Continue reading

Motivation Monday- Change Your Color

Need some motivation to start your week off? "Just remember, if you're feeling blue, try painting yourself in a different color." - Hannah Cheatem

Does this quote inspire you? Click and download now!

What’s Your Color?

Often times we view ourselves in a more negative light than others see us, but we have to change our color. Rather than feed into this negativity it is often useful to view ourselves in a different perspective. We are artists of our own life. We have to take the ugly and mix with the beautiful to make something unique and useful to the world. Often I find, when I alter my color and have a different perspective  I have a more uplifting, up more realistic view of myself.

However, it’s also easy to get an overly optimistic or inflated view of self, too. When this happens, we can send a cascade reaction of negative appraisals from others. This aforementioned response from others is often our own self-fulfilling prophecy and can be just as easily avoided as our own negative self-appraisal.

Change the Color

Try something new. On the one hand, self-esteem is important.  On the other, acting superior to others can alienate us from the direct people we need to be in contact with. Changing our color, without changing the base of our canvas, can help us relate with others in a new way.  Often they add to what we already have making a more colorful pictures.

So if I’m feeling blue, I should try yellow and if I’m green with envy I should try red. I find that the color I paint myself often offsets the unrealistic thinking I have, to reconnect with myself, to restore a healthy self-image and of course, to reconnect with humanity.

Sometimes, it’s easy to feel blue, but it’s important to remember that it’s up to us to paint our own canvases. Sometimes, it’s easy to use up all the other colors and then have to use up the blue before buying a new set, but it’s OK. Don’t let every day be ruined with the blues.

Don’t forget to save this pinspiration for later.

Save

Save

Save

Motivational Monday- Use Your Talents

Using Talents

Using talents given to us is essential to making the world a better place. Trying to find a way to use your talents can be difficult and sometimes even overwhelming. Maybe you’re good at a lot of things or maybe your good at just one thing but it can be used for many different things. Using talents is essential in making the world a better place. At times, it’s easy to blame God for the world’s problems, but He did all He needed to, which was to create people with many different skills, passions and goals. When you look around at the world, you can see many things need to be done, gaps that need to be filled and it’s because people are not stepping up to fill those gifts with their talents. It’s up to us to take those talents to create a better world and help each other. Otherwise what’s the point?

Need some Monday Motivation to start your week off? Just remember: “Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade" Continue reading