#40DaysOfGiving

*Some of you may remember this post from last year…here is a “repurposed version” for us all this year! Enjoy!

The season of Lent is among us and I’m reminded of all the many things I’ve tried “giving up” over the years. Some have been successful – some not so much. So this year, in talking with some friends & fellow Rotarians, we’ve decided to try something different. Maybe you’ll find it worthwhile and will choose to be a part of it too.

As a Rotarian, I try to live by the motto “Service Above Self.” Whether it’s volunteering with the local special needs sports program or delivering wheelchairs to spina bifida patients in South America, there are ample opportunities to give back as a Rotarian. But “giving back” certainly isn’t unique to Rotarians. I meet people everyday who inspire me through their giving hearts – whether it’s opening a door for an elderly person or allowing someone with less items to “cut in line” at the grocery store.

Many people look at Lent as their chance to “give up” something important to them for 40 days. This year, I’m choosing to “give back” for 40 consecutive days. I call it “intentional giving.” Let’s be clear – I won’t be writing any big checks to the non-profits I support (I wish I could). I’m talking more about small opportunities – even those that go unnoticed – to “serve humanity” over the next 40 days.

Each yearshr, the Rotary International President selects a “theme” to represent his year of service. John Germ, the RI President for 2016-17, chose “Rotary Serving Humanity” and on that note, I’m inviting all my Rotarian friends (and those of you who aren’t “yet” Rotarians) to join me in this small effort to “give back” rather than “give up.”

Over the next 40 days, look for ways you can “give back,” and if you so choose, share them on your social media using #40DaysOfGiving. But for the record, sharing on social media & using this hashtag isn’t about recognition or publicity – it’s about sharing ideas of ways to give back and maybe encouraging others to do the same.  And maybe even filling up social media news feeds with positive news stories for a change!

Maybe it’s a short hand-written thank you note or paying for the meals in the car behind you in the drive-thru. Maybe it’s bringing candy bars to your co-workers or donating unused winter clothes to the homeless shelter. The possibilities are endless for your “intentional giving.”

So when Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, I invite you to join my friends and I in our #40DaysOfGiving effort. You may not believe one person can make a difference in the world, but to one person, you may be the world. So be a gift these next 40 days of Lent. I’m certain you’ll be just as blessed as those who receive your gifts.

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#MyKickstand

“Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.”

How many times have you heard that phrase? Or said it? Well-intentioned friends and family members say it often (myself included), assuming of course you’ll never really ask. Because most of us rarely ask for help. (I can’t be alone in that trait, right?)

downtown-playhouse_18777353190_oBut if you’re as lucky as me, there are those people in your life, that no matter what you’re going through, are always there to help, even when you least expect it and especially when you are too proud to ask for it.

I realized today these people are my “kickstands.” You know, that thing on a motorcycle or bicycle that provides balance and support without any additional aid or assistance. That’s what our 2014-10-11-170607_18777476948_omost valuable friends do for us, too. Even when we least expect it.

There’s a certain amount of irony in the recognition of my closest friends as my kickstands. Yes, I’m a lot taller than all of these ladies, and yes, that gets pointed out in every photo we take together… 

But the reality is they are ALWAYS there for me providing balance and support, letting me lean on them when all I really want to do is collapse and fall over.

Thank goodness for my kickstands. If you’re as blessed as I am, you have several. I shared pictures of just two here, but there are many more that always have my back. I’m not only blessed, but I’m also grateful.

Call your kickstand today, and tell him or her thanks for their support. Share this post and tag them in it using #MyKickstand on your social media.

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More Valuable Than A Bird

I’m a worrier. There…I said it.

I worry about stupid things like the weather or what outfit I’ll wear to a specific event. I worry if I packed everything I need for a trip. I worry about getting to meetings on time and even how often I post a blog. I worry if something I said or did hurt someone’s feelings.

But to be completely honest, I worry about big things too…paying the bills, the health of my family and friends, and whether I’m making good decisions.

Yep, I’m a worrier. And when my stress levels get high (ok, higher than normal) from all my worrying, do you know what happens? I get sick. My body tries to warn me to stop worrying and I always ignore it. I get tight muscles in my shoulders and neck. I get an upset stomach. I get a blackhead or an ulcer. All of these physical ailments keep me from eating or sleeping well, so then I get even more ailments and that causes even more stress.

It’s a vicious cycle that worrying. And it gets you nowhere. NOWHERE! I know deep down I should replace all my worries with prayers. And I do pray about all of these things (the “stupid” ones AND the “big” ones). But I still worry.

This morning I saw a social media post from a friend I respect deeply, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. She cited Luke 12:24-27, which included “Do not worry about your life…consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than the birds.”

WOW!worry_18940381269_o

Sometimes I forget my value – not just to God but to everyone. You might be surprised to read that. I’m often told how “perfect” my life looks, and that people live vicariously through my travels or activities (and even my closet). But the truth is, I’m just like everyone else. I work hard and worry even more.

But this morning I was reminded how much more valuable I am than the birds. That means I have to use the talents God gave me that He doesn’t give the birds…like words to write or speak…hands to volunteer…friends to support. These are my talents, skills and offerings. So today I will use these gifts more and worry less.

You, too, are more valuable than the birds. Use your gifts more and worry less.

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What is love?

Everyone knows what today is (the candy companies, florists and card makers won’t let us forget.) It’s Valentine’s Day.  It’s a day focused on love and hearts. For some, it’s a special night out on the town or a special delivery at the office. For others, it’s a reminder of the pain or loneliness caused by a failed relationship.

How about inslove-is-what-you-do_25586898902_otead of focusing on the word love, this year let’s focus on the actions of love. Love is not just what you say, it’s what you do.

Checking on an elderly neighbor. Buying breakfast for the car behind you in the drive thru. Saying thank you to a co-worker or classmate. Reminding your loved one to wear their seat belt or text you when they get home. Picking up the dirty laundry. Emptying the dishwasher. Reading a bedtime story to your child.

All of these are acts of love. Too many of my friends (probably yours too) over the years have focused on “the L word” rather than the actions associated with love. We “love” a certain restaurant. We “love” that outfit. We “love” watching our favorite tv show. We’ve all used the word in that way, haven’t we?  Let’s change that this year.

SHOW someone you love them today. And tomorrow. And the next day. I’m certain you’ll get an abundance of love in return.

Let me know how this experiment works for you. I “love” hearing back from you!

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Patience (ugh!)

If you know me well, ok, even if you know me a little, you already know patience is NOT one of my virtues. I want to change things NOW. I want to be finished NOW. I want to see the results NOW. I’m not very good at being patient.

I’m trying to work on that. In fact, it’s my “new month resolution” for February. Too often when we lack patience, we give up before we ever see success.

I’m not convinced I buy into this whole thing of patience being a “virtue,” which by definition is a “moral excellence” or an “admirable quality.”  My need for patience doesn’t always relate to morals. And if I ever do get it I don’t think I should be admired for it.

what-you-want_24146858004_oI think patience is a learned behavior. Don’t misunderstand – it’s an important one – but it is learned through tests and obstacles. And I don’t need to be admired for acquiring it. Instead that will be an internal victory for me.

Bottom line we all need to remember is that if we develop patience, we can meet our long-term dreams and goals. I’ve seen that to be true firsthand in some areas of my life, and now I am applying it to all the other areas.

Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now. Be patient. It will be worth it!

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