04/11/2012 § Leave a comment
DONATE BOOKS ..... & .... APPRECIATE, CREATE, SUPPORT ART
I’m going to declare these last 2 weeks my “Easter Vacay” and call it a day.
It has been busy, busy, busy around here lately and I have so much I want to talk about (I fear this may be a long one so grab a cup of coffee… or a beer!)
Well for starters there are no worries, just because I’ve been out of posting sorts doesn’t mean I have been slacking on my Every Monday Matter’s tasks. These two tasks in particular are the bee’s knees for me… seriously, reading and art? I couldn’t ask for a better vacay week(s). The two of these things go hand in hand for me… I am SUPER passionate about both and only hope in my craziest dreams that everyone else is as well.
Let's start with books:
Reading is ridiculously important. If you don’t think so then I suggest you change your tune. How about the obvious: reading enhances your vocabulary.. sparks imagination.. provides peace and privacy when needed most.. and can supply a wealth of knowledge while shaping a well-rounded individual. I mean seriously, I am not even joking when I say this but… I have already started a library for my future children!… Yes, children that do not even exist yet. I have even suggested Barnes and Noble’s for my future baby registry, Ha!
“55% of children have an increased interest in reading when given books at an early age” – EMM
I am that ridiculous girl that will spend an entire day in a bookstore if you let me… and spend WAAAAY too much money!
Now… donating the books, actually letting go of a book.. this is a bit harder for me. Due to my intense love of reading and my slight case of OCD… donating books is something that makes my heart race. I enjoy having my bookshelves organized and designating a particular home for every book and genre,… and it just makes me melt seeing them all there ready to be read or re-read! However I have a magnitude of gently used books donated to me in my quest to open my own store… not all of the books are stellar for what my intentions are so I have been filing through the numerous boxes and weeding out the ones that don’t particularly serve my future bookstore needs. Off they go, because even if you aren’t as psychotic about reading as me..everyone deserves a chance to read a great book.. and the sad truth is that some people aren’t able to due to lack of resources.
“61% of low-income families have no books in their homes.” – EMM
Now how about some art?
My passion for reading is only rivaled by my passion for all things art… When I was 16 and I decided that I wanted to go to college and study Fine Art my entire world changed. I spent a decent portion of my high school career shacked up in the art room working on my portfolio day in and day out. I remember December of my senior year… my mom driving me out to Kutztown in a blizzard, my pajama-clad self in the back seat strewn with blankets and tissues fighting off a fever and the flu… all to get my portfolio in for the early admittance deadline. I spent all of winter break on the edge of my seat waiting for some sign of life from Kutztown…I called once, if not twice, a day… just waiting for them to put me out of my misery! When the sweet (and only slightly annoyed) secretary finally came back with a “Yes, Kelly.. your portfolio has been reviewed and I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Fine Arts Program.”… I could have hit the floor.
When I finally got to Kutztown and started on my Fine Art adventure I quickly learned how inexperienced I was in comparison to the rest of my classmates. Not to say that I didn’t have what it took, but the tiny town I originated from just didn’t have the means/cares to provide an outstanding art program. I was one of the only graduating art majors for my class… my advanced art class in high school during my senior year had 3 children in it (myself included.)
Now the story goes on from there in a quite unorthodox manner, but never-the-less I am still passionate about art to this day.
“93% of people believe that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education. Regardless only 29% of schools have been able to maintain time and funding for art programs.” – EMM
Take some time to create something. Even if you aren’t a phenomenal artist… to the people who love you most, a homemade something may be the best gift of all. Art doesn’t have to be about how great of a painter you are… or how many pieces you’ve sold. Art is about the emotions and creativity that are brought out from creating something from your heart. Don’t let the little things.. that are really the big things… go unnoticed.
“Art is a reflection of people and cultures since the beginning of time.” – EMM
So once again… here’s to passion, all forms of it.
(I had to dig this piece out of the wreckage that is now my portfolio!)
02/27/2012 § Leave a comment
HELP THE HUNGRY
I don’t mean this week’s task, I just mean this day in general. I forewarned everyone in my first post that days like this would come.. and here it is. I’m sure it will pass, bad days always do.. but in the midst of one it never seems like it will. It’s one of those days where one bad thing triggers your mind to dwell on every bad thing… things that aren’t even bad, but because it’s that kind of day, become yet another thing to berate yourself over. I’m feeling crappy to the extent of crappiness…. I feel as though my goals are slipping away, my insecurities at their peak, and like one loose thread could unravel me completely right now. I’m fully aware that I’m being melodramatic, but that’s what you do when you’re having a day like this.
This week’s post will be short and sweet, because i”m in such a mood I’d hate to become lost in my words and end up bringing down everyone’s morale. I probably shouldn’t even be allowed in front of the keyboard right now… oh yes. Maybe once I’m feeling in better spirits I’ll update during the week… but for now, short and sweet it shall be. It’s such a sad thing, because this week’s task is mighty important.
Help the hungry.
We practically have a bomb shelter in our house… at least thats what my future brother-in-law, Chad, would tell youI stock up on food… and supplies; and I get it from my family, no doubt about that. My parents, nay.. my Dad, stocks up as well (it’s frowned upon when my Mom does the grocery shopping…) and my grandparents too. Seriously, if you every need coffee… stop by my Pop Jeep’s house… he’s got it, I’m tellin’ ya. I’m not insinuating that it is a bad thing to be prepared, but it should be dually noted that sharing is just as important.
“35.1 million Americans have limited access to enough food due to a lack of money and other resources. 12.4 million of those are children.” – EMM
Sadly follwed by…
“96 billion pounds of food are wasted each year.” – EMM
We try are hardest not to waste food in our home, for the simple fact that it’s a waste. It’s money in the garbage, food out of someone else’s mouth, and an unmerited sacrifice of livestock or the environment. In short (because I promised it so) we’ve gathered up some of our canned goods, as well as some canned food for the animal shelter (because I’m sure they’re hungry too) and are set to deliver in the next few days. Below is a picture of my beautiful puppy niece, yep I said it, Loretta. She was a shelter pup and relied on the charitable donations of others to feed her until she found her forever home with my other future brother-in-law. It all matters,… even the little things.
I had a hell of a time trying to find a soup kitchen of some sort to volunteer at in our community, so if anyone has any suggestions please feel free to help me out with that… but with our donation I’d like to make it a habit to trim up our “bomb shelter” every few weeks… and share with those who need it more.
I don’t have video capabilities on here just yet (that comes with an upgrade…which costs money… and I’m still pretty new around here, so I’d like to see where my little slice of the internet goes before shelling out some serious dough on it)… however if I DID have video.. you’d be watching one right now… it’s a great piece by the people from Every Monday Matters. They show you how simple, and cheap it really is to do some good for those less fortunate… head on over and check it out here Muffins for the Hungry. The one I’m referring to would be the second one from the top. While you’re at it feel free to take some time and check out some of the other great videos they have about the movement and specific weeks.
With all that said and done, I’m heading downstairs to cook some dinner (healthy zucchini boats, I might add)… and try to get this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day back on track.
02/19/2012 § 2 Comments
WRITE A LETTER TO A U.S. MILITARY HERO
When I first read my goal for this week I immediately thought of my childhood friend Annie. Annie in a nutshell is a funny, vivacious, kind-hearted, joy of a person… and she is currently serving our country overseas. I asked her a bit ago if she could help me out with this upcoming week’s task and put me in contact with someone she knows overseas that may not receive too many letters from home themselves… and she came through! So I wrote out my letter (as well as one for my dear Annie) and they are going out in the mail today! I’ll keep the details of the letters private,… but in general I just wanted to openly express my gratitude to someone… so that they know at least from someone other than their own loved ones… that what they’re doing is appreciated. Even in our day-to-day with the little things in our life it is important to sometimes give a simple “thank you” to let your loved ones, or a stranger, know that you care. Don’t ever underestimate kindness.
I couldn’t do what these people do. I have high admiration for anyone serving, for the simple fact that they have more courage and, in ways they may not even be aware of, are far more selfless than most. Contrary to what you may think… this week’s task has nothing to do with politics. I do not care what you think of the wars, I do not care if you think our soldiers are misplaced in the stations they’re at, I certainly don’t care if you approve or disapprove of the way our government and militaries are run; what I do care about, right now, is that we, as a nation, appreciate the fact that these men and women are here for us when we need them. They put their lives on hold, they leave loved ones behind, they brave the unknown and they do it because they believe in it. This is not about the bigger picture, this is about the individuals that are making a sacrifice that you or I may not be willing to make. This is about respecting that simple fact. That’s that.
So, here’s to our soldiers, our veterans, and all the future protectors of our freedom… and here’s to the celebration of our Independence, which would cease to exist had it not been for these brave individuals.
01/21/2012 § 3 Comments
HAVE AMBER ALERTS SENT TO YOU
AMBER stands for ‘America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.’
“…was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, then brutally murdered.” -EMM
Why wouldn’t anyone do this? It’s simple… its easy… it takes little to no effort. The payoff, however, could be tremendous.
Again, I encourage everyone to do this.. Every Monday Matters or not… because it really is that easy, and it really is that important. You can have these alerts come straight to your computer in a ticker form, or even sent right to your cell phone or other mobile device I’m sure. It is essentially a system to alert the public on missing children in their areas, in hopes of aiding a safe return for that child. The fact that a system like this is needed in the first place is a sad and disconcerting thought; but since it is needed I’m so glad it exists. I’m not a mom of the two-legged variety yet, but I imagine that as a parent all you can hope for your children is that they have the skills and knowledge and luck to avert a fate as sad as Amber Hagerman’s.
Children are precious, and I believe in community… knowing that you are not alone in raising your child. Because in truth it’s you as well as your family, your peers, their peers, the entire community shaping them into who they will become. So why not have the same amount of people, more in fact, looking out for them and protecting them when sometimes you can’t? As a child, I got locked out ALL the time. It was nothing of my parent’s doing… I was forgetful and in an era of no cell phones. We had wonderful neighbors and I would go ring their doorbell, sit with them while they called my parents and then my Pop Jeep, who would come over with a key to let me in. So when our neighbor’s 9-year-old son was wandering around the front lawn a few months ago, as I was getting home from work, I asked him if everything was okay. He told me he was locked out without his cell phone (whaaaat????) and not sure where his big sister was. So as opposed to him sitting out on his front porch waiting for some one to come home, we invited him in. He sat on the back porch with us (which is in clear view of his own backyard) and he played with the pups while Jeff gave his dad a text to let him know that his son was with us. It’s that kind of community that I’d love to see more of in this world. When my children get locked out (because they will, I’m sure) I know my neighbors as well would take them in, call me, make sure that in my absence everything is still okay. That is how I view the AMBER Alerts, its a broad community all looking out for the welfare of the kids who may not have had good neighbors that invited them in. Unfortunately in researching this weeks task, I found more than anyone’s fair share of awful, heartbreaking stories. I’ve seen, first hand, what it’s like for a mother to lose her child prematurely. It’s something I would never, ever wish on anyone… friend, foe, or otherwise.
Amber Hagerman was my age; born the same year… probably would have graduated the same year as well. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the issues of our lives that, in that moment, seem so dire and important that we take for granted the simple fact that we even have our lives in the first place. I look back at fighting with my parents, and first loves lost, and all the ‘tragedies’ of my youth… and can now see how truly good I had it. Amber Hagerman didn’t get to experience any of those things, and truth is- as she was riding her bike in Texas that day… I was probably riding mine a world away. One day I’ll be able to speak to this with full, gut-wrenching, empathetic words… but for now all I have is sympathy. Sympathy for the children still out there, and sympathy for the families that are left behind… either battling the unknown, or facing tragic realities.
So here’s to all the missing children waiting for a way home…. and here’s to a few amazing kids that are especially close to my heart.
A few other links for thought….
http://www.alert.pa.gov – This is the site I had to go on to get my Amber Alerts sent to my phone, email, and any other device that you wish…
http://www.codeamber.org – This is the site to go to get a ticker downloaded to your computer, or a widget if you’d like for your blog or any other website.
http://www.amberalerts.gov – This is the site that gives you gives you a run down of any state’s particular website for Amber Alerts, and any general information about the system in general.
(Side note: I’m posting early because I’m feeling quite yucky this past week and not entirely sure I’ll wake up early enough tomorrow)
01/09/2012 § 12 Comments
WHAT MATTERS MOST
My first Monday, oh how exciting….. This one is actually quite easy. What matters most, that is my goal.
A bit of information, before I continue, about the layout of each week. Each page in my EMM book is split into three sections; Facts, Take Action Today, and You Matter. In a nutshell it begins by offering astounding, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes appalling, sometimes endearing facts to motivate you towards the second section. Take Action Today is the section that really gives you your task for the week, broken down. Finally, each page rounds out with the You Matter section which essentially reinforces why and how this particular task is making a difference somewhere or in some thing.
Without any further adieu… What matters most.. to me:
1. My Loved Ones – My fiance, my family, friends, pets etc. It matters to me to spend time with each of them and make the effort in my relationships. I don’t ever want to wake up one day and realize I don’t really know the people closest to me, or for that matter that they don’t know me. It’s quite a crazy thing getting older… how you’re life experiences inspire change that you are hardly aware is happening… how you’re priorities shift ever-so slowly with each passing day. So here’s to starting new friendships, rekindling old ones, and appreciating the people (and pets) I have.
2. Health – Mine, yours, everyone’s. Again, as time goes on and your priorities start to shift.. certain things just become more important than they used to be. Being there in the aftermath of loved ones passed, close-calls, even new births, are all things that make you want to take stock of your own health and well-being. How long do you expect to be around? How are your life choices affecting your health and longevity? I’ve seen and experienced more than I care to in loss at my ripe age of 25… I want to stick around for quite a while… and I want my loved ones to as well. So here’s to exercising… walking my dogs… learning to cook in ways that healthy food still tastes AWESOME… and to sticking around in general.
3. Ambitions – I have certainly got a lot of these. Which in and of itself is one of my many downfalls. My downfall is that I very much lack in follow through; this is something I’d quite like to change. However ambitions are important in general to me.. I would rather I have a magnitude of ideas and flaky follow through than no ideas at all. So here’s to opening a bookstore, writing a novel, starting a foundation… and here’s to the desire to want to do them in the first place.
4. Passions; New and Old – I love to read. I love to write… I love to do a lot of things, and I don’t ever want to lose that. As much as I enjoy spending time with my fiance and my family, I think it’s equally important to have things for me. Don’t get me wrong here though, I enjoy even more so when I can revel in my passions with those I love… but there’s just something about curling up in my bedroom corner with a book I just can’t put down and a steaming cup of hot chocolate next to me. As stated, passions new AND old though…. I don’t ever want to stop wanting to learn things. I’d like to take guitar lessons…or a cooking class. Something I’m not too great at but I just might fall in love with. So here’s to not ever being the boring version of myself… here’s to loving what I love, and the fun of figuring out what I hate.
5. Inspiring Change – Call me corny, call me whatever you like… but I don’t want to leave this place knowing I haven’t even tried to inspire change in it. There is a whole world outside beyond my busy street, and I don’t want to forget that. I’d like to start a charity, I’d like to support a charity; more than one in fact. One thing I’d like to do, I’ve wanted to do… is the walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It is something that hits very close to home, and I want to share and support others in their battles with everything that comes with it. With that, here’s to never forgetting the bigger picture… and here’s to helping when and where I can.
What matters most? It can seem like such an easy question, and in theory it is, but there is something quite revealing about taking a few moments and truly evaluating what is most important to you; realizing that maybe your weeks aren’t as filled with these things as much as you’d like them to be – and deciding what to do about it. I encourage everyone to do this; whether you’re doing Every Monday Matters or not.
Anyway, there is my list… those are the things that matter most to me. Believe me the list goes on, and on, and on… but (to reference one of my absolute favorite movies) these are the lucky few, my top 5.
And here’s to finishing my first Monday.