31 Days of Giving Project – What I learned!

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It is December 31, 2014 – 9:30 pm and I am sitting on an airplane flying back from Dallas, TX. I was in Dallas visiting a college friend for a few days over the holiday break. It was a relaxing trip with time spent being able to catch up with her and her family. It was a perfect way to end my 2014 and my 31 days of Giving Project, by giving myself the gift of time off.

I took off of work from December 25-January 4. I am usually always the one working the holidays but this year, I took the time. I actually checked out for the time-frame. I did not answer any calls, e-mails (I looked, but did not reply) or do any “work” while on vacation.

What I learned from my 31 Days of Giving Project is that it is great to have passion for what you do, but you can’t let it take over your life. It is healthy to “check out”,  it is not selfish to make time for yourself, and the ripple affect from a simple act of kindness can be an amazing thing.

This project has giving me more patience that I hope to carry into 2015. It has also taught me to slow down. I can have a pretty crazy schedule and this journey has taught me that I can say no so my schedule is not as hectic, to take time to visit with our friends and family, because what if that is the last time you get with them and most of all if you greet people with a positive attitude and a smile I have found, that people in return will do the same to you and others.

Wishing all of you health and happiness in the upcoming new year. Cheers to 2015!

Jody

 

31 Days of Giving: Day 24 & 25 – The Gift of Family

 

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Merry Christmas to you and your families.  May all your days be filled with love, joy and peace. As we come to a close on this Christmas Day, I offer a Christmas wish to all:

  • Happiness May your life be filled with joy and happiness and may each new day bring you moments to cherish.
  • Love– On this joyous day, and throughout the new year, may your life be filled with an abundance of love.
  • Fulfillment–Merry Christmas and may you live a long and happy life filled with goodwill and friendship.
  • Peace– May this new year bring you peace and tranquility, and as you walk your path may it bring you contentment.
  • Prosperity–On this joyous day, and throughout the coming year, may your life be filled with good luck and prosperity.
  • Friendship– I wish you a very merry Christmas and may we enjoy many more years together as friends.
  • Joy of Giving– May your heart be filled with the joy of giving, as it is the expression of the love in your heart and the kindness in your soul.
  • Blessings–May the light of love shine upon you, and may your life be filled with blessings in this Christmas season.
  • Kindness–On this most blessed day, I wish you love for all your kindness, and I hope the new year will bring you many days of happiness.

 

 

31 Days of Giving: Day 23 – The Gift of Music

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Music can be a universal language that can bring people together. I love this time of the year specifically for the Christmas tunes. I am a fan of the classics – “Silent Night”, “White Christmas“, “O Holy Night” and who doesn’t like “All I Want for Christmas is You”. My all time favorite song is “Hallelujah” originally sung by Leonard Cohen.

To me it doesn’t matter who sings this song, when done right, it can silence a room and bring tears to your eyes.

I was blessed to be in the presence of some incredible local musicians last night who are following their dream and passion and making music their life.  I have so much respect for what they do and the gift they have.

Here is short video clip of all the musicians that played last night at A’Bravo coming together to sing “So this is Christmas”.  Just a small taste of the amazing sounds heard last night.  Thank you Sam Brooker, Jackson MankowskiBrad Bordini, Manditori and others for bringing peace and joy to our world through your gift of song.

31 Days of Giving: Day 22 – The Gift of Kindness

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I am at day 22 of my “31 Days of Giving” project and something I am noticing about myself in this journey is that I am kinder to the stranger at the check-out counter, in the drive-through or taking my ticket from a metered parking lot. I find myself taking the time to notice the person behind the service and look them in the eye, give them a smile or a proper “hello, how is your day” and not be in a rush just to get through a line.

Think about all the times you interact with strangers in your day.  The teller at the bank, getting your morning coffee or the hostess at the place you went for dinner. Do you remember what any of the people looked like? Their name? Next time, stop for a moment and really “see” the person and take notice if your interaction is different.

Here are a few “kindness” ideas from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.

  • Put Change In A Parking Meter – If you notice a car’s parking meter is about to expire, put some change in.
  • Thank Your Police Or Fire Department – Every day, hundreds of men and women risk their lives to make sure that we are safe. How impressive is that? Why not tell these people how thankful you are for their services?
  • Return A Shopping Cart – Instead of leaving your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot when you’re at the grocery store, make someone’s job easier by returning it to where it belongs.
  • Pick Up Trash – Beautify your surroundings! Be kind to the environment and those around you by picking up trash when you see it lying around. It doesn’t matter who left it there, just pick it up!
  • Ask Someone About Their Culture – Do you know someone who is from a different culture than you? Perhaps they were born in a different country, speak a different language, or celebrate different holidays than you. Ask them to tell you about their cultural values and traditions.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

—Scott Adams

31 Days of Giving: Day 21 – Gift of the Winter Solstice

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The winter solstice marks the beginning of the sun’s journey northward as well as the shortest day of the year for those in the northern latitudes. In the age-old battle between light and dark, the light has triumphed, and the days begin to get longer. To the ancients, the gradual return of the light was a time of celebration and affirmation, bringing the promise of spring and new life.

The winter solstice is interpreted by many to be a time for positive physical and spiritual transformation.

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I marked this special day by attending a special 108 Sun Salutations class hosted by Grace Yoga Studio.

I must admit, I only made it through 54 Sun Salutations (one hour of the class versus the full two hours.) For me, that is what I needed to feel energized, grounded and relaxed.

Looking forward to bits of daylight added to each of my days!

31 Days of Giving: Day 20 – Gift of Pinterest

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This weekend, I found my inner craft diva and searched the Pinterest boards for projects with cork. I figured I would finally put all those wine corks to good use that I have been saving. I have to admit, among all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, sitting down and crafting was extremely relaxing.

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I made two projects, an earring holder and a key chain.  When I looked around my place for supplies, I amazed myself that I had all the materials and re-purposed some others.  The earring holder, I used a frame that I already had, and I had the hooks in my “junk drawer”. The cork key ring I used an old bracelet that broke and one lone earring, that I lost the other one several years ago.

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I am mighty impressed with my two Pinterest projects and I know of two special people who will hopefully like these home-made creations.

Look around your house, search Pinterests and get your inner craft diva on!  Enjoy, relax & have fun.

31 Days of Giving: Day 17-18-19 – Gift of a Card

68074e3c33017f1819cf5669b840cf5b lettersThis time of the year, I love going to my mailbox to see who I have received a card from versus the usual bills and store ads in my mailbox. With the use of technology, writing a letter or sending someone a note, almost seems like a lost art form. I love my technology, but I am still a big believer in the power of a hand written thank you card, or sending a note “just because”.  Think about the last time you received a card and it wasn’t your birthday or the holidays.  How did that make you feel?

Day 17, 18 and 19 I spent writing holiday cards to send to family and friends letting them know I am thinking of them during this holiday season. I challenge everyone to pick up a pen and paper, and write a little something to someone special in your life – and give them a great gift when they open their mailbox!

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31 Days of Giving: Day 16 – Gift of Lights

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Our oldest volunteer at the Red Cross is Blanche.  She will be 99 on March 13. She volunteers every Thursday in our blood center helping to register the blood donors. She lives alone, and recently gave up driving. She has her day out on Thursday, but otherwise she might only get out one additional time during the week.

Knowing that she is now housebound most of her days I thought I would see if she wanted to go for a tour of Christmas lights tonight.

I called her up, and we made plans for me to pick her up after work and we would go take a tour of the Christmas lights around town and go for dinner – her choice.

We toured all over town to some of the biggest lights displays. She was in awe of the new Schreiber Foods building and how beautiful it looked lit up, she was telling me decorations she liked and those she didn’t like, she shared with me stories of how she used to work at a bakery on Adams Street and then they moved to Broadway.

She also shared with me how much this meant to her, because when you live as long as she has all your friends are dead. Blunt, but true statement. She used to play cards 3-4 days a week, and none of those ladies are alive anymore. As she said, “I make new friends as I get older, but you still miss all your old ones.”

Our final landmark on the tour of lights was of course Lambeau Field. I told her all about the new construction and pointed out the new sections and as we round the corner in the parking lot by the new Lambeau Leap statue I said, “Blanche, how would you like to Lambeau Leap at almost 99?”   Greatest picture ever!

Blanche Lambeau Leap

We finished our tour with greasy burgers, fries and cheese curds at Kroll’s West. As I dropped her off and gave her a big hug, she told me again how much this meant to her. Looking back on this night, it meant the world to me as well.

If you know of someone who is housebound, take the time and visit or pick them up and go for a drive. It will mean the world to them, but trust me, it will leave a pretty big impression on your heart too.

31 Days of Giving: Day 15 – Gift of Mentorship

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I am very fortunate to have some amazing mentors growing up. I thank my Grandparents and parents for instilling in me my hard work ethic, I have many professors that believed in me, and I have met community members who I continue to look up to and learn from every day.

I feel like life is becoming full circle, and now I am getting the opportunity to be that mentor for young leaders in our community. Today we had our monthly meeting for our Red Cross Young Professional Group – Club Red. We launched in September of 2014 and currently have around 15 members and looking to grow. This might be a small group but they are go-getters and launching the club has been so fun for me.

I was introduced to service later in life, and I wish I would have gotten involved earlier in my career because now I see how getting involved can open doors to opportunities and friends you might not ever meet if it was not for volunteering.

I feel very blessed to be able to work with such a talented group of young professionals and if I can help in any way guide them to be leaders in our community it will be a direct reflection to the many leaders who I have learned from.

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

31 Days of Giving: Day 14– Gift of Books

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A friend of mine put out a facebook message if anyone was willing to help load books for the Give-A-Kid-A-Book Campaign this Sunday am. I was more than happy to lend a hand or I should say some muscle! Our group of awesome volunteers loaded 10,000 books in less than an hour.

Next week the books will be distributed to kids in our community. Because of the great turn out of new books donated and the financial support by the community, each child, will be able to receive two books.

Did you know donations are accepted all year long? Donations of new, unwrapped books for babies, children, or teens to age 18 can be dropped off at any Brown County Library at any time. Just let them know they are for Give-A-Kid-A-Book! Help every child discover the joy of receiving one’s very own book.

Did you know? 

  • If a child reads for 20 minutes every day, they are exposed to about 1.8 million words of text every year. That is 137 new words per minute!
  • If families read together for 20 minutes a day, 7 days a week, they get more than 121 hours of bonding time every year!
  • Many states use third-grade reading scores to predict the number of jail cells they might need in the future (about three out of five prisoners in America are illiterate).
  • For every year you read with your child, average lifetime earnings increase by $50,000. You make a $250,000 gift to your child from birth to age 5 by reading aloud, just 20 minutes a day!
  • Children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are 3–4 times more likely to drop out in later years.

Stats from the following website: http://www.kidcentraltn.com/article/benefits-of-reading-to-your-child