We do our best work when we compete against ourselves — not others.
We do our best work when we compete against ourselves — not others.
A friend of mine had two hummingbirds fly into her house the other day. She said they had to wear themselves out before she could scoop them up and set them free. There’s a message in that isn’t there. Imagine how much more energy we could have, how much more creative we could be, how much more love we could offer…
Sending love from the beautiful Southwest 🙂
I declared today a “vacation day” and drove to one of my sacred spaces in the mountains. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to see a bald eagle perched atop a tree. It was a beautiful sight to behold; especially when it lifted off and flew away with fluffy white legs blowing in the wind.
Today I longed to see the majestic bird again. I kept my eyes up, searching the treetops as I drove. It wasn’t meant to be.
How many other birds and wildlife did I miss searching for what I thought to be the prize?
How often in life do we search for what we believe to be the answer, when there are miracles right before our eyes…eyes that do not see because they are looking for something different.
Therein lies the gift of mindfulness; to be present for what life is offering up. Tara Brach asks us to clear a path in the forest of our mind. What might we find if we sit and wait for what appears?
Look what I found when I came home.
Step Off the Merry-Go-Round
How many times have you heard the idiom, “ Get me off of this merry-go-round!”?
It’s an expression that conjures up a familiar, commonly shared image of someone “mindlessly” attempting to run faster than their legs can carry them; often but not always, directed by someone other than the person who is doing the real running. Around and around we go, doing, doing, doing; believing we don’t have a choice and resenting the demands placed on our time that keep us from doing what we think we would “rather” be doing.
One mother complains, “I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom.” A college student says, “It’s like being in prison; my time is not my own; if I’m not studying, I’m working, and if I’m not working, I’m studying.” A grandfather says, “I want to write my family history, but my kids count on me to babysit…
View original post 708 more words
A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to walk this beautiful labyrinth and I learned an important lesson. If my eye was on the goal…that is reaching the middle, I got dizzy and frustrated; but when I was fully present and kept my eye on the path, I saw the beautiful rose petals laid beneath my feet along the way. I smelled the honeysuckle and heard the song of the birds.
Anna Stapley, Center Coordinator VOA Homeless Youth Resource Center, Charity, Compassion, Happiness, Homeless Youth Resource Center, Humanitarian Programs, Kindness, Maya Angelou, POP Operation Love Bundles, Quality of life, Target, Volunteers of America
I sat down at my desk, opened my computer, and while I was waiting for WordPress to load, I lifted my eyes from the screen to look out the window. The wind chimes hanging by my back door were singing, as were the birds, and I beheld the beautiful sunrise pictured above. A perfect Valentine’s Day morning.
Aside from the picturesque sky, I can attest to “There is beauty all around.” That phrase is from a popular hymn that continues with… “when there’s love at home.”
Maya Angelou said ” I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself”
Yesterday finally arrived. We loaded up seven over-sized Target bags holding two hundred “POP Love Bundles,” and delivered them to Volunteers of America (VOA) Homeless Youth Resource Center.
We were welcomed by a lovely young man who offered to help us carry the heavy bags inside. Once inside, we saw food for the taking lining the shelves. We met Anna Stapley the program coordinator and she took us on a tour of this amazing facility.
When they say “Homeless Youth Resource Center,” they aren’t kidding! From the outside, the building looks quite small. When you walk in, the space feels cramped…but just you wait; as we began touring we felt like one of the below:
There were shelves holding large bins of hygiene supplies, baby supplies, food, clothing, shoes, backpacks, blankets, dress clothes for job interviews, sleeping bags and much more.
There were two computers, seven showers, a large open area that I think doubled for serving meals and holding groups.
The center is open:
Mon – Fri 9:15 am- 1 pm (drop in-center)
Mon – Fri 9 am – 5 pm (appointment only or drop donations)
Breakfast served: Mon-Fri 9:15 am – 9:45 am
Lunch served: Mon-Fri 1- 1:30 pm
Dinner served: Friday only 4-4:30 pm
Different groups offered include: Art group, Get an I.D., Horizonte Group (GED and education), Yoga Group, Music Group, Haircut and a Movie Group, Homeless Court (for kids with legal problems), Zine Group (run by the Community Writing Center) and two other groups for talking about what’s on your mind and learning new skills.
…and the services continue…case managers helping youth get connected to community resources, job interviewing skills, assistance for obtaining new social security cards (remember, you can’t get a job without a social security card,) and so much more that I can’t even begin to do it justice. I can’t remember the exact ratio of full time employees to volunteers but I do know there are 20 who give their time freely to help vulnerable youth get stabilized.
Volunteers of America’s mission statement is:
Volunteers of America, Utah is a ministry of service organized to reach and uplift those in greatest need and to provide opportunities to experience the joy of serving others.
We at Pioneers of Peace resonate with that sentiment wholeheartedly.
Right now I wish you could feel what is inside my heart. Take a moment and try to imagine the feeling of seeing so much good being done for so many vulnerable people and then on top of that, add all of the effort on everyone’s part to make POP Operation Love Bundles possible.
We would like to thank each one of you who contributed to the success of this project. From cheering us on, to sending positive energy and prayers and sharing our goals, to financial support, making scarves, buying fabric, socks, protein bars and lip balm. Thank you for writing quotes on paper cranes and then lovingly folding them, and also the actual assembling of the love bundles; We say…THANK YOU! WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT WE COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT. We have all walked, not just talked.
Our rough calculations show that together we spent $1,030.00 and served 100+ hours for POP Operation Love Bundles. Well done everyone!
Our goal was to let our homeless youth know they are not forgotten. We hope in some small way we fulfilled Maya Angelou’s beautiful quote.
” I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself”
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone XOXO
We are in the thick of making POP Project Love Bundles a reality and I have been moved to share some thoughts and impressions with you.
In case you weren’t aware, homeless youth in Salt Lake City do not have a shelter to stay in at night. Up until recently it was illegal to house adolescents. Fortunately that law has changed and a shelter is being built, but it will not be open until next year.
Volunteers of America has a Homeless Youth Resource Center, where kids can stay during the day and receive meals. Many of the youth are camping throughout the city and the foothills, so HYRC has a mobile unit (a van) in which they deliver much needed resources to the youth as well as connect them to multiple resources.
Last year, HYRC served 647 youth, having a total of 23,768 contacts, They dispersed 102,422 basic need items, made 3,766 referrals and provided 789 care coördination hours meaning they sat down one on one to discuss treatment services etc.
Pioneers of Peace, along with Target and other community angels are teaming up to make a difference in these adolescents lives this Valentine’s Day. We have initiated what we fondly refer to as “POP Project Love Bundles” in which we are providing: a handmade fleece scarf, a set of hand warmers, a new pair of socks, lip balm, a protein or granola bar, and a paper crane complete with a handwritten quote. These items are all rolled up and then tied with raffia; hence a “love bundle.” Our goal this year is to give 200 bundles.
The response has been wonderful! We have enough scarfs, hand warmers, granola and protein bars, but we are still in need of socks.
Pioneers of Peace, has created our own brand of lip balm that we will be selling using the Tom’s Shoes business model, One for One. In other words when you buy a tube of lip balm for yourself, you will be providing a tube for a homeless youth. We hope you will support our cause by stocking up on our fantastic, hip, SPF-15 lip balm that will soon be available.
Now for some thoughts…
One of my earliest memories is that of my dad sitting me down around Valentine’s Day to tell me I mustn’t neglect to give everyone in my class a Valentine. As I was decorating my shoe box/Valentine’s Mailbox, he told me the story of an awkward little girl in his elementary school that didn’t receive any Valentine’s from her classmates. He vividly remembered the pain and tears on her face and every year forward he made sure to give her a Valentine. My dad taught me to not forget the forgotten.
Last week I was at Costco where I overheard a common, but unpleasant exchange between a mother and a 10ish year old boy. The mother was obviously at her wits end and her son had done something that she apparently had told him to stop. It was at that point that I entered the scene and heard these screaming words leave her lips…
“Stop it!!! I’ve told you and told you to stop it! What’s the matter with you? Are you stupid?!!!
My heart broke as I heard those words and especially when I looked at the boys face.
A conversation with my son…
Last week I was on the phone talking to my son who lives in Korea. Somewhere in our conversation I told him about “Project Love Bundles.” His response was very positive and supportive. He said, maybe next year you can do it in November because it gets really cold outside. That way they could use the scarves longer. He then went on to tell me about VOA’s HYRC, and said I should call the local public radio stations to get the word out. I reminded him that HYRC is the agency we are working with and then the conversation turned to another topic.
That particular son left home at 18 under not so favorable circumstances. That was 18 years ago and he is now a certified teacher and Dean of Student Affairs at an international school in Korea. After hanging up the phone, I wondered how he knew so much about the Homeless Youth Resource Center and how cold it gets at night when you’re homeless.
How do these thoughts come together? I’m not exactly sure, but I do know this.
I want the homeless youth of Salt Lake City to know they are not forgotten this Valentine’s Day.
P.S. HYRC, if you helped my son at the most difficult time of his life I am forever grateful to you.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Traditions are an important part of memories.
Take a moment and think back to some of the traditions you have been a part of…
One of my cherished memories is that of baking a variety of cookies with my mother over the Christmas season. After each batch was baked, the cookies were carefully stored in the freezer until the night we decorated our tree. That night we took the goodies out of the freezer and arranged them on cheerful holiday plates. Hot chocolate was brewed and served with the much awaited cookies, but only after the tree was decorated. The anticipation was overwhelming. It was so much fun that I chose to keep this tradition with my children and now my grandchildren. I can honestly say it’s as much fun today as it was when I was a child, but more importantly, it brings family members together and strengthens our bonds.
What about Thanksgiving?
In my house as well as many others, the Thanksgiving feast takes center stage. For the past couple of years I’m embarassed to admit Black Friday shopping has begun to take root. After dinner, newspapers are laid out on the floor and the hunt begins for the best “deals.” Kids look at the ads and begin their holiday wish lists while the the shopping strategy is formulated.
Contrast that with a different tradition…
…Last year about this time I read about a neat little project that a beautiful friend of mine was doing. It is a desire of her heart to help eradicate hunger in children. She told us that for only .25 cents, a child would be provided a school lunch in a red cup by the World Food Program. This may be all the food they eat in a day.
Our family wanted to try and help and see what we could do so we decided to join the Thanksgiving “Cup” Campaign. We found three cups. One for the grandchildren, one for our children and one for Bob and I. We all looked for spare change in the bottom of purses and pockets, drawers, in the car, and under the couch.
Little ones came with coins in their hands and dropped them one by one into their cup and each time they did we talked about who may benefit from “their” coins.
On Thanksgiving day we all gathered together and counted “our change”. The children made piles of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters on the floor and counted nearly $100 dollars. In a few short weeks we had “found” and collected enough change to provide 400 school meals for children somewhere in the world.
Isn’t that great.
Thanksgiving is the season of harvest; a time to be mindful of our abundance. It’s a time to reflect on being “thankful” for all that we have. Part of counting our blessings is knowing that our lives could be very different. If we slow down long enough, it is easy to see the contrast between the haves and the have nots.
We mustn’t forget the forgotten. There exists almost a billion people in the world who do not know where their next meal is coming from.
This Thanksgiving we invite you to begin a new Thanksgiving Tradition by joining the Pioneers of Peace Thanks”Giving” Cup Campaign.
66 million children go to school hungry every day. 25 cents feeds a child. $1.00 feed 4 children. $10.00 feeds 40 children. $20.00 feeds 80 children.
Tips for Making the Donation Process as Easy as Pumpkin Pie
1. Become familiar with Pioneers of Peace’s direct link to WFPUSA early. It’s important that you donate through this link so we can measure the good we have collectively accomplished. Here is the link: http://my.wfpusa.org/popthanksgivingcupcampaign
2. If you don’t have a Paypal account, you may want to open one. It’s a safe and easy way to pay directly from your checking account and there are no fees. Here is link: PayPal
On our link there are also options for credit and debit cards
4. Go to your bank in advance and ask them what their procedure is for transferring change into dollars. Most banks have change counting machines that make this process very easy.
5. After counting your change on Thanksgiving day, donate the equivalent through our link, and then the next day, deposit your change into your bank account to reimburse yourself.
6. You can also find out where your local CoinStar machine is and exchange your coins for cash. Just know CoinStar will take a percentage of your money.
7. Calculate how many meals you have donated, and know that as you sit down to your own feast, you have provided much needed school meals to children all over the world.
Other Important Information:
When you donate on our direct link, DO NOT donate anonymously. We want to thank you for your kindness.
When you donate on our direct link you will receive an email receipt from WFPUSA for your tax records .
The first 50 people to donate will receive an authentic red cup as a thank you gift. (One cup per household)
We’d like to thank you in advance for joining us in doing our part to end hunger this Thanksgiving season.
As Mother Teresa said…
May this Thanksgiving be a joyous one and the beginning of a new tradition of putting the “Giving” into Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone and may you always find your cup half full 🙂
P.S. If you haven’t had a chance yet to see my new blog hop on over and take a look http://www.pioneersofpeace.org
I know it has been a long time since I last wrote, but I’ve been involved in a really big project.
On October 3rd, I officially registered the nonprofit corporation I have been dreaming about for years.
Check us out on our website: http://www.pioneersofpeace.org
Currently we are in the middle of our annual fundraiser for the World Food Program USA’s, School Meals Program. Heres a little info graph to explain what we’re trying to do…
You can learn more about it on our Facebook page, “Pioneers of Peace Thanks “Giving” Cup Campaign” and on our website at http://www.pioneersofpeace.org
… and little bit more about Pioneers of Peace Inc.
Pioneers of Peace ™ is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating peace by fostering compassion, altruism, and gratitude. We do our part in relieving local and global suffering by providing humanitarian aid to women and children.
As Pioneers of Peace (POP) we are dedicated to the promotion of human development and resilience. Our efforts are founded on principles of gratitude, compassion, and altruism. We choose optimism over cynicism. We recognize that even simple acts of kindness are powerful, whether performed by individuals or groups. Such efforts alleviate suffering and elevate consciousness. Acts of generosity inspire others and foster a spirit of giving; we are thus committed to raising the awareness of individuals and groups who are actively engaged in making a positive difference in the world.
As pioneers of peace we make a personal commitment to our own kindness and growth, understanding that we cannot ask of the world what we are unwilling to do ourselves. We hold that the act of “giving back” is the strongest evidence of resilience; therefore as Pioneers of Peace, We Walk, Not Just Talk.
Pioneers of Peace ™ has a two-fold mission.
1) We cultivate peace by promoting compassion, altruism, and gratitude.
2) We relieve suffering by providing humanitarian aid to women and children
[i] The Zero Hunger Challenge is a global initiative, which aims to build support around the goal of achieving Zero Hunger. It was launched by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and call on everyone-governments, the private sector, non-government organizations (NGOs), and the public- to do their part to achieve this goal. It is based on a shared conviction that hunger can be eliminated in our lifetimes. http://www.wfp.org/zero-hunger
[ii] No child should go to school hungry. Today, an estimated 66 million students across the developing world attend primary school hungry, with 23 million children in Africa alone.
School meals can be life-changing for the world’s poorest children. School meals also help to get students into the classroom, giving them an important key to a better future—an education.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides school meals to more than 24 million children each year. Just 25 cents provides a child with a nutritious meal, such as porridge, rice or beans. School meals help to improve children’s nutrition, ability to learn and life chances. School feeding also gives poor families an incentive to send children to school, especially girls. http://wfpusa.org/what-wfp-does/school-meals
Come on over to http://www.pioneersofpeace.org and check us out 🙂
Until next time may you find your cup half full 🙂