Monday, July 26, 2010

In My Own Backyard

The other day I started questioning my thoughts regarding starving children in my own backyard vs. children living in other countries who do not have enough to eat.  I hear what you are saying, starving is starving.  I did agree with this but, I am also embarrassed to say,  I was of the opinion that we need to take care of "our own" first.  How many times have you heard someone say that? Since that time I have come to realize that the children I speak of should not be segregated.  Also,  who exactly are the children that belong to us?  The use of "our own" children is also a bit selfish and egocentric. I still believe we need to help those who live nearby but now I readily accept the perspective that the children living in other countries need our help too and probably more so.

 I live in Cherokee County, Georgia.   We have thousands of children that go without food and this is especially true in the summertime.  During the school year, the school system provides free or reduced lunches to kids who meet a certain criteria, poverty.  When school is not in session,  these same kids may only get one or two meals a day.  Some days it might not be anything.  It is overwhelming to think of all of the children in this area alone that go hungry for whatever reason. Most of the reasons are endlessly sad.  Fortunately,  where I live,  there are things that we, who are more fortunate, can do to help those who are not as fortunate.  We can donate resources and time to organizations like MUST Ministries. MUST provides food and clothing to individuals in need.  They also assist in areas of adult education and employment.  In addition to that, MUST feeds thousands of kids in Cherokee County and nearby Cobb County every summer through their summer lunch program.  (

It takes a great deal of volunteers to pull this off as well as an immense amount of donated food and money.  It is a wonderful program that I do not think a lot of people know about. I do know about this program because I have been one of the many volunteers who have gone to the trailer parks in the summer delivering lunches to kids.  It is a life-changing experience. The children flocked to my van, so eager to get something to eat. They waited for these lunches with the same anticipation my own children have had before they unwrap their birthday gifts.  After I delivered the food and chatted with some of the kids and their parents, I sat in my van and wept for a long time.  My heart ached for those kids and because of my experience I was drawn to helping people, children especially,  on a local level.  What  about the starving children who are not in my backyard, my state, or my country? What resources do the kids in Africa or India have?  They have programs like Feed The Children, but it is not a local organization.  ( Those children need our help too.

 Children in need depend on us to help them. Children did not ask to be brought into the world therefore it is our responsibility to help them however we can,  no matter if they are in our own backyard or not.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

True Love Starts Here

Finally I understand the need for taking care of myself. It was always good advice to give someone else. You know that person in your life that beats themselves up and you offer up the usual, "Don't be so hard on yourself. In order to love others you must first love yourself." How many of us have actually realized this in our own life. It is hard to sit down and really think about how you treat yourself. Most of the people I know are more concerned about others. I did not really understand what it meant to "love yourself." "Sure I love myself. God made me and I love God so I automatically love myself." That is the easy part. To really understand I dug a little deeper. Loving yourself actually encompasses a lot more than that. Forgiveness is also a part of the equation and it is this part that is the most difficult to digest. We have to not only be able to forgive others but more importantly recognize when we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes it's hard not to hold a grudge against ourselves. "If I wasn't so ______ then _________ would not have happened." This bottomless pit is an easy place for me to go to. It was comfortable and I knew what would transpire after I went there. It's hard to climb out of that hole once you are there. Little by little if you try to replace the negative talk with something positive you can turn things around. Yoga helped me do exactly that. The instructors at the studio I go to create a place so that I feel comfortable enough to forgive myself and love myself. They remind me to erase the harmful chatter and fill up that space with light, and warmth and love. I can now love others on an even deeper level because I first love me.

Trusting Your Instincts

I just got back from a very powerful workshop on trusting your intuition. How do we know when we should trust how we feel about a person or situation? Thinking of trust reminded be of the Angel Oak Tree in South Carolina. This was one place I wanted to go to go on our short trip. As a matter of fact I felt drawn to it and I'm ever so grateful we made the time to go. Angel Oak is reportedly over 1000 years old. Until visiting I didn't really know what it felt like to be 100% sure of something. The Angel Oak was strong, seemingly indestructible, and yet very comforting. My instincts that said I needed to go visit this magical place were correct. We either choose to trust our intuition or we do not. We make a decision at that point to either agree to continue in the direction we are headed or we decide to do something differently. How do we know we have made the right decision? There are many clues that help us along the way but we must choose to recognize and accept those gentle, and sometimes forceful, nudges we get. You know what is best for you but you cannot live your life solely by that. If you have been given hints along the way but chose to ignore them then that is your choice and you have chosen your path. It is yet another life lesson you need to learn. After tonight's workshop I got the message that I need to trust people less and investigate more. I investigate everything else. Why would I chose to accept everything someone tells me? If I did choose to investigate and the information was not what I expected, nor wanted, what would I do with this revelation? Maybe that is the issue for me. If the information was damaging to my impression of the person would I use that information or discard it? The information does not change but sometimes my perspective does. I need to open myself up for options. We should all learn to use the tools we have available to us. These tools help us make wise choices because these choices ultimately affect our life. These choices easily lead us down our path or lead us to another life lesson. Everyone has life lesson(s) and the sooner we learn them the easier life becomes. That is how we learn and grow and grow and grow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friends and the moment

Have you ever been separated from someone for a while yet when you get back together it's as if you haven't been apart? I have a friend like that. I've known her for years and years but that closeness has always been there. It's like putting on that comfortable pair of PJs and settling in for the evening. You want to be in that space, sharing that space. Time goes so quickly and then she's gone. While she was visiting we shared quite a few funny stories about life, about kids, about being. I think that's what makes our relationship special. I know we both bring different things to the table but it's about feeling safe, not being afraid to be vulnerable. The risk of sounding stupid, saying the wrong thing, ... is outweighed by the fact that whatever I do or say she isn't going anywhere. I trust her and she trusts me. What a wonderful place to be in. When she's in the room I automatically relax into who I am, my authentic self. She is a good friend to have around.