blogging for good… elsewhere

Over the past week, most of my blog efforts have been going to launching projectwarm.us.  It might be crazy to try an collect 5,723 coats and blankets for the homeless by Thanksgiving, but that’s not going to stop us from trying!  I started this with my friend Lin, and since then, my friends Amy and Elizabeth have come on board as major players in this effort.

We have collected 61 coats and blankets so far.  That doesn’t seem like a lot, but we’re still setting up the drop points and getting the word out.  We do not count a coat or a blanket into our total until it’s in our hands.  We have lots of pledges though!  Would you like to help?  Although there’s a comprehensive list of ways to help on the projectwarm.us website, I would like to share 3 of my favorites with you.

Trick-or-treat, help our feat!

An idea on collecting coats and blankets on Halloween night!  If you have a wagon or a bin with wheels, follow your kids with it.  After they ‘trick or treat’, go behind them and give out one of these little mini-flyers…

Once you hand it to them, ask for and old coat or blanket.  They’re already standing next to their coat closet!  They might actually give you one right then and there!  If not, now they have the little flyer.  Let them know you can come back by and pick them up at a later time or where they can find the drop points.  Not only is this a good way to get people involved, but it also gets your kids involved and you get to meet some more of your neighbors.

Waste time for a good purpose.

Utilize social media to spread the word.  We hear “Facebook is a time waster” or “Social media takes too much time”.  If you’re on there at all, blast out the projectwarm.us website and ask your friends to participate.  So blast this out on your selected social media sites…  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Friend Feed, Readit, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Google…  Tell your friends you are collecting coats and blankets for the homeless.  Contact us when you have your stash and we’ll come pick them up!

Involve your kids.

This is a great teaching opportunity to teach your kids the value of helping others.  Some Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops can get credit (badges) for this type of thing.  The world will be a better place for our kids if they understand the value of giving.

Thanks for your help!!!!!!!!

new dos, new shoes and nothing to lose

I got to participate in a really cool thing yesterday.  New Dos and New Shoes at the Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center.  Under-resourced kids got new shoes and new hairdos for going back to school.  Several hairdressers got together to provide these services.  I don’t cut hair, but I told them I would be ‘sweeper girl’ and just support them.  I ended up helping prepare the kids by wetting their hair and combing it out.  I know now why God gave me boys after helping all the cute little girls.  They have lots of hair with lots of tangles.  I guess I would know that if I ever actually brushed mine.

There’s a lot of good in new shoes and haircuts for kids, but this went one step further.  The 3rd good in this was the 3 radical haircuts, where they went from long to short.  I did Locks of Love 2 years ago so I thought surely we can find some rubberbands in this place.  We did.

Carolina is a teenager that was looking for one of those cute shorter haircuts thats longer in the front and shorter in the back.  I’m not a hair chick, so I have no idea what that style is called.  She was the first donation.

Brianna was next, a preteen, looking for a shorter cut.  Again, we scrounged around for some rubber bands and got a lock to send off for donation.

Alisha, our last donor, was one of the kids mom.  She had really long hair and showed an interest in donating hair, after she saw the other two ponytails on the table.  Her hair was still a pretty decent length after the donation.

Since my best friend is a hair stylist, I know how busy they can get, especially with appointments back to back.  Donating hair is such a great way to bless another person with minimal work involved.  The only things you need to have as a hair dresser to be prepared for that radical moment someone decides to go short is this:

  • Plastic baggie
  • Padded envelope
  • Rubber bands
  • Ruler

Why not be prepared?  You have nothing to lose, only goodwill to gain.

Here’s the 3 major hair donation places and addresses:

Locks of Love – 10″ minimum

Locks of Love
234 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701

Pantene – 8″ minimum

Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Attn: 192-123
20770 Westwood Dr
Strongsville, OH 44149

Wigs for Kids – 12″ minimum

Wigs for Kids
24231 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, Ohio 44145

I dug out my photos from when I did it.  I like the lower maintenance of shorter hair, but I look like the little dutch boy on the paint can with short hair.  Some people can pull it off, but not me.  I also like being able to do a ponytail at any time.  I’m glad I did it, but I was also happy when my hair started getting longer.  10  inches is a lot!

One more really cool thing was that my church allowed them to take all of our adjustable stools out of guest central to use for the hair cuts.  Setting up a make-shift salon is no easy task.  The stools worked perfectly!  It’s amazing all of the good that can happen when people with really big hearts get together for good.  It’s always great to be a part of working events like this.  A big thanks to everyone that had any part in doing this.  :)

 

hours and hours of fun for only $16

The first thing I do when I’m on vacation in a new city is scope out all of the local thrift stores and resale shops.  It was raining yesterday, so the kids couldn’t do some of the things they had planned, so we hit the thrift stores.  The first one had some cool stuff, but way higher prices than what I’m used to.  The second store was a combo resale-thrift store.  I found a great t-shirt there, but they only take cash.  Of course I didn’t have any cash with me.  The boys found a treasure here, something I had when I was their age, but I said no impulse buys.  If they wanted it, they were going to have to return the next day to get it.  I was going back, after a bank run, to get my t-shirt.

The third thrift store didn’t have much that peaked my interest, that is until I turned the corner and found this little gem for $2.  A vintage Polaroid 600 camera.  Now that there’s a company making film for these, they’re not as easy to find.  These are selling on eBay from $10 to $50.  Replicas are going for up to $150.  This little beauty was only $2, an expenditure that was not part of the $16 hours of fun that I’m about to share with you.  I’ll have to order the film for this.  Did I need this?  No.  My kids and I will have some fun with it, then probably turn around and sell it.

My kids were talking the entire time about the vintage toy back at the second shop.  Honestly, I knew they would appreciate it and it was a cool flashback for me.  When we returned, the nice lady working there greeted us with a big smile and said, “You’re back!”  We bought the vintage toy…

Meet Rex, a 70’s vintage string puppet named after our favorite restaurant in Steamboat Springs, CO.  He cost $16, a price that seemed fair for a real vintage toy.  My boys have a great appreciation for vintage things, as they love our 12 rotary dial phones as much as I do.  We decided to take Rex out on the town!  Continue reading

road trip adventure

18 hours in a car?  Not a problem for us!  Yeah, I would love to fly and get to my destination quickly, but I’m good with a road trip.  There’s more adventure in driving.  (Texas to northern Colorado)  I don’t have photos of all the beautiful sights along the way, but I have some.  God was showing off His beautiful art yesterday… lightning, rainbows, rain, sunshine, deserts, mountains, clouds, storms, trees, rocks, sand…

Continue reading

historia en los corazones… [story in hearts]

You know I have a difficult time doing anything simple.  I started painting these hearts, and was about halfway done, when I had an idea.  Yes, I usually change direction midstream on art projects.  :)  The hearts have meaning because we love all of the kids at Casa Hogar Elim, but how about if they tell a story?

I painted these on the wall in the teen girl’s dorm at CHE, on a column near the new fridge, as we were redecorating their space.  The colored-coded and carefully numbered hearts tell a story and reference a scripture in the Bible.

Can you figure it out?

Here’s one hint:

The scripture reference is in the old testament.

I’m going to use Google translator and make this in Spanish too.  Not sure how that will work…

Usted sabe que tengo un tiempo difícil hacer algo simple. Empecé a pintar estos corazones, y fue realizado a mitad de camino, cuando tuve una idea. Sí, por lo general el cambio de dirección en medio de la corriente proyectos de arte. :) Los corazones han sentido en que amamos a todos los niños en Casa Hogar Elim, pero ¿qué tal si le dicen a una historia?

Pinté estos en la pared en el dormitorio de niña adolescente en CHE, en una columna, cerca de la nevera nueva, como nos decorar su espacio. El color-codificados y cuidadosamente numerados corazones contar una historia y una referencia escrito en la Biblia.

¿Puedes averiguarlo?

He aquí una pista:

La referencia de la Escritura se encuentra en el antiguo testamento.

New clues.

The hearts represent 5 numbers.  Three of the numbers are the scripture reference and two are clues.

free stuff

When we arrived to the Mission Arlington conference Saturday morning, Tillie was quick to put us to work. What better way to see what is going on there than to experience it first hand? Works for me, I’m ready! She quickly found drivers for the three buses filled with garage sale leftovers. She then asked for volunteers to go with the drivers to take these buses to specific apartment complexes to give it away. I have no idea what other jobs she had, as Christine and I jumped on this one.

We headed out to our bus with Mark and Joan. Mark was driving and we figured we would just get in the bus and go. The bus, an old handicapped city bus, was packed so full there was no place to sit, much less get in. We decided to sit on the steps of the bus and ride along. Probably not the safest thing, but it’s God’s work and to me, it made perfect sense.

None of us had a clue that MA did this kind of stuff. They go to garage sales that are over and pick up all of the remaining items. What an awesome way to get this stuff to people that can use it, not to mention it’s a great way to be green and help others.

When we arrived, we found a grassy area by the office and mailboxes to unload the bus. Storm clouds were rolling in however it was not raining yet. Our instructions? Unload the bus, knock on doors to let everyone know that we’re there with free house wares, clothing and other free stuff and give it all away. Honestly speaking here? I did not want to knock on doors. I quickly offered my services of unloading the bus. Turns out we all started unloading the bus before knocking on the doors.

I’m not sure what got into me at this point… well, it was obviously God, but after about ¾ was unloaded, I said, “I’m going to knock on doors.” I quickly ran off to spread the word: free stuff. It was about 10am? Not a lot of people answered their doors, probably one in four or five. I was also reminded yet once again that I don’t speak Spanish and should really learn just a little bit.

As I was going door to door, my brain was on overdrive. This is not a world I am familiar with, yet it felt very comfortable, like I was meant to be there. Some of the million thoughts running through my head… I didn’t plan on doing this today. What was I planning? I need to learn some Spanish. These people can cook, that smells good. I wonder how many times this building has been painted? These doors are heavy and have a lot of locks. My knuckles hurt. I wonder what these people are thinking when they look through the peephole and see me? It’s chilly in these hallways. I wonder how many people are over there getting stuff from the bus? How do we do something like this in Frisco? I live in a palace. I have a lot of stuff. How can this world be a 40-minute drive from where I live? Why haven’t I been here before? I worked for a low-income property management company, could I have done something to help people? Can I still contact them now and do something? Wow, many of the apartments that opened the door have a picture of Jesus on the wall, some with candles. Okay, you get the picture, through my ADHD eyes.

Mark came looking for me, apparently I just kept going and knocking. Well, I hadn’t gone to all the doors yet, right? I knocked on a few more and went back. The area was swarming with people! How incredibly cool is that?


As people were shopping, or as I like to call it, treasure hunting, it began to rain. Just a little bit at first, but that didn’t slow down the hunters. Tillie had told us before we left the we might have to do the rain plan since it was going to rain. So what was the rain plan? It was the same as the dry plan. Always was, still is and will continue to be that way. Helping others doesn’t stop with a little rain, or even a lot of it. I’m guessing when we have a few snowflakes and all of Texas goes into an unnecessary panic-shut-down mode, Mission Arlington does not.

While I was knocking on doors, a gentleman that sells taquitos came by and left a food package for us. We didn’t have anything to drink, but they smelled so very good. As the shopper traffic died down, we sat in the bus and ate our food. There was a baggie of green chili sauce that smelled so good, I could have just opened the bag and ate it all by itself. Without drinks, if it was spicy, we were all in some trouble. I decided to try it. It was not too spicy, but it did have a little kick to it. The others declined the green mystery sauce. I had some left over, and yes, I packed it up and placed the green liquid gold into my backpack to finish later.

It started to rain much harder, so we moved all of the stuff onto the sidewalk under an eave. The few shoppers that were there stopped to help us. We moved everything right in front of the mailboxes so we were hoping the mail person didn’t come anytime soon.

We got a chance to talk to some of the later shoppers before we packed up to leave to go back and be assigned to our next adventure. We only brought back maybe a fourth of what we had. As we were about to drive away, the mailman showed up. God’s timing is perfect.

There are so many lessons to be learned here, and this was only the beginning of the weekend. I suppose besides the obvious lesson of always helping others, it was weighing on me a lot of just how wasteful we be. I’m not judging anyone here because I can be wasteful too, purchasing things I don’t need, getting sucked into the strategically placed retail ‘impulse’ items and buying things to make my life easier without thinking of the consequences.

After this experience, I’m even much more intentional about shopping at thrift stores, not retail stores. I’m trying to be better about not being wasteful and teaching my kids that as well. And don’t get me started on impulse purchases. My kids and I have a plan. If it’s something we didn’t plan to buy when we went to the store, we walk away for at least 24 hours. If we remember the item and we still want it (and can afford it), we can go back and get it.

I’m not sure what the shoppers were thinking about this whole process, maybe a subconscious appreciation for the people that bought the stuff in the first place. Maybe they were happy to get some free stuff, needed and wanted. Maybe they didn’t even think about it at all. Either way, I hope they felt loved.

the storm

There were some really nice thunderstorms rolling into Nuevo
Laredo.  Yep, you guessed it, I had
to break out the camera.  I got
some great lightening shots.  God
put on an amazing show!

 

I had a few people ask, “How do you do that?”  It’s simple, really.  Place your camera on a tripod, place
the shutter in ‘bulb’ mode and be prepared to take a lot of photos.  You have to take into consideration the
light pollution that is in your area.
A one to two minute exposure is all I could do.  Then, just wait for God to shoot a lightening
bolt for you.  J

 

So to get the three photos below, I had to take about 20-25
photos.  The storms were pretty
active so I didn’t have to wait long.