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#6 cultivate hope when disaster hits

28 Dec

The disaster above is a picture from the earthquake from last year in Haiti

Hope being cultivated by Red Cross volunteers 🙂

Hope is defined as: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best (noun) or to believe, desire, or trust (verb). We have all lived through some sort of disaster or tough situation. When a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina or the oil spill or the earthquake in Haiti occurs, the better parts of humanity shine through. People band together and create hope: hope that there are more survivors than thought, hope that they can make a difference. With these disasters, hope is cultivated through volunteers, donations, and prayers.

Thankfully, such disasters are not as prevelant as our own personal disasters are. A lot of times it is easy simply to give up and cave in to the feelings of despair, anger, and frustration. However, we all know that those feelings aren’t beneficial and do not alleviate the situation. In these situations, it is easy to think “why me” and/or “great something else goes wrong in my life”- I know I have done that… but it’s best to hope for the best of the situation… Maybe that minor car accident can lead to you getting a new paint job on your car- or overdrawing your bank account will allow you to really assess where you are spending your money! Like the age old mantra “everything happens for a reason”- even though that is sometimes annoying to think or have other people tell you, I truly think it is true.

“What seems to us are bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

-Oscar Wilde

#14 Purchase beauty products that do not test on animals

11 Oct

There are several beauty product companies that go the ethical route and do not test on little critters:

Revlon* Mary Kay * Whole Foods * Bath and Body Works

                                                                   

These companies still do test on animals sadly:

CoverGirl * Johnson and Johnson * Pantene

There are several more for both categories, but I just wanted to list the major ones.

Just what do companies do when they test products? They pump a substance into an animal’s stomach or airways, or apply it to the eyes or skin. What can you do?! Pledge to be a caring consumer! Check out the Humane Society website, which has ton more information (http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/cosmetic_testing/). I took the pledge and requested a pocket consumer book so I know which companies are okay and which ones are not! Until tomorrow…

“Life in any form is our perpetual responsibility.”

  ~S. Parkes Cadman

#127 protest injustice whenever and wherever your see it

2 Oct

Raymond Chase, 19. Tyler Clementi, 18. Billy Lucas, 15. Seth Walsh, 13. Asher Brown, 13.

All lives recently lost…to suicide….as a result of bullying because they were gay.

Bullying is a serious problem in schools and in society today. It is something that really makes me upset- who are you to think you are better than someone and can hurt them and make fun of them? This is an issue I find myself frequently addressing in my classroom. I feel that today’s culture does not acknowledge the fact that words hurt- the old adage “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” is false. Words due hurt- as evidenced by the lives lost.

Injustice can take various forms- but you know it when you see it or hear it. Address it. Stand up to it. It may be hard, but it is the right thing to do. Watch the news. Educate yourselves, your children, your family, your friends. This is important. This bullying has been on my radar, but after reading about Tyler on CNN and Raymond on another blog (see link below), and watching the clip from the Ellen show, I knew I had to blog about it.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with someone’s lifestyle, it is imperative that you do not engage in actions/behaviors that harm them. Think about the Golden Rule….a blog that was fairly recent.

Read about Raymond: http://talkaboutequality.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/another-suicide-not-just-a-number/

Watch the Ellen clip: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/10/01/levs.ellen.anti.bullying.cnn?hpt=T2 

Signs your child, student, friend may be getting cyberbullied (which is the new form of bullying) : http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/10/02/p.kid.being.cyberbullied/index.html?hpt=T2 

Until tomorrow….

“Raymond Chase was a person who liked Harry Potter and Rugrats and was a member of the popular facebook group “I cant spell “bananas” without singing hollaback girl.” He’s not number five in a week of suicides, he’s a unique special person with friends and family who are devastated by his loss. He’s a gay college kid who sure seems happy but not that day, or maybe he’d never been, and something happened or something had always happened and he couldn’t do it.”

#51 become a global pen pal

23 Sep

One memory that remains in my memory from 4th grade is when my teacher told us we were getting pen pals with 4th graders in England. I was so pumped! I eagerly wrote my letter, describing me and my favorite shows (at the time it was Unsolved Mysteries and the Muppet Show- the one that was on Sunday nights and was like a comedy one). I’ll never forget the disappointment that we didn’t get replies back. So upsetting!

I wish the author would have included a website to find a pen pal. I feel like it would be hard because there are a lot of creeps out there, so to find a legit site and subsequently, a person would be hard. So what’s the next best thing? Just so happens one of my best friends, Megan, is now teaching 2nd grade in Denver.

We are going to set up a pen-pal system between my classes and kids and her class! I am super excited about this! It will be great writing activities for my students and for hers! Plus, I get to write letters to Megan! I think it’s important to teach students how to write letters because it is a long-lost practice/skill, thanks to technology. We’ve been playing phone tag the past couple days, so I can’t wait until we get back in contact so we can catch up and plan this! 🙂 Until tomorrow….

“Gratefulness is the key to a happy life that we hold in our hands, because if we are not grateful, then no matter how much we have we will not be happy — because we will always want to have something else or something more.”

– David Steindl-Ras

#65 drink fair trade coffee

19 Sep

Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee?! Even moreso, who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee that was traded for ETHICALLY?! Luckily for us caffeine junkies, we can find this virtually anywhere: including in our own home! Check out some of the coffee brands you can buy and brew at your own house (which will save you money too!): Seattles Best, Green Mountain, Timothy’s Best and of course, STARBUCKS.  What I like is that the Starbucks coffee is CHEAPER than the Dunkin Donuts brand AND it tastes better! The vanilla Starbucks is delightful, plus there is a new caramel flavor that I think I am going to try next.

I realize not everyone enjoys a good cup of coffee (which is odd to me), so I found this website which has A TON of different fair trade items you can purchase: ranging from jewelry to furniture. I really like the Zulu Grass bracelets which are made by the Maasai women who live there. And for 9 bucks a bracelet, it’s a good deal. One of the other deeds is to buy gifts which are fair trade ones…something I think I will be doing this year! Check out the website: http://www.fairworldgallery.com/catalog//  Until tomorrow! 🙂

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. ”
Saint Basil

#35 take a quiz and help end world hunger

9 Aug

For three weeks from April 4 to April 26, 1993 former Congressman Tony Hall fasted. He fasted in response to protest an action that Congress had undertaken. He wrote a book in 2006 called Changing the Face of Hunger. I read a brief excerpt in which Hall described the three weeks and how his experience enabled him to understand the experiences of those all over the world go hungry. Hall wrote that the first week was the hardest (in regards to hunger aches/pains) but the second and third weeks were hard because he had no energy.

After the fast was up, Hall lost 23 pounds and was unable to eat a full meal for another week because he had to coax his stomach back to normalacy. You too can read this excerpt. After reading the excerpt, take a brief quiz (literally four questions), submit the  quiz, and then click on the CLICK HERE button. Once you click, Hunger Notes contributes a penny to Mercy Corps for its  work in DR of Congo. Check it out here: www.worldhunger.org/contributefood.htm Until tomorrow…

“the sensation of hunger faded in about a week.  It’s as if the body gives up on getting food and stops demanding it.  From then on, I could join my family at mealtimes and not be bothered a bit .  It was a revelation about the poor and the hungry, to whom I came to feel exceptionally close as the fast went on.  I now fully understood, in a way I never had before, a strange phenomenon I had witnessed during famines: starving children who refused to eat when food was finally offered to them.”

-Tony Hall

#63 click to give free food

5 Aug

In precisely 1 minute I was able to:

  • provide 1.1 cups of food to the hungry
  • help a woman in need get a mammogram 
  • provide a child with life-saving health care
  • give a book to a child in need
  • protect 11.4 square feet of rainforest habitat for wildlife
  • provide the value of .6 bowls of food for rescued animals

How did I do this? How can you do this? Simple, check out www.thehungersite.com ! All you have to do is click where it says CLICK! The deed explains about how this simple click provides food, what it didn’t mention is that there are tabs along the top which allow you to give to other worthy causes as well!

The causes are supported 100% by the advertising fees on the website. There is also a store in which you can shop and all the proceeds go to the causes. For instance, there is a really cool shoulder bag with an elephant on it. I love it and if I had the 20 bucks for it, I would buy it! The bag would provide 50 cups of food! They have really cool items and everything is made in the countries by the people who receive the food. Additionally, if you click on a tab other than hunger, and shop in that specific store, the proceeds sponsor that specific tab. For instance, under the literacy tab there is a handmade purple dress from India that costs 33 bucks would fund a book for a child. Very cool! This would be a good site to shop at for Christmas and/or birthdays.

Updates: 

  • Shaq episode airs next week!!! 9 pm on ABC! Look for me, Kelly, and Megan front row cheering!
  • Shade tree: the orientation happens next week, when I’m out of town. Luckily Shay is able to attend! The volunteer coordinator told me she would inform me of the next session.
  • Today Shay did a very nice blog about me! It made my day and improved my mood times a thousand!!! Check out her blog (and you should make it a favorite too!!) http://simplyshaylynn.wordpress.com  

Until tomorrow… 🙂

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think.  Because although eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called. 

 ~A.A. Milne