They say that there is nothing better than to give to someone and never expect anything in return. I can assure you that the sentiment is entirely true. One of the things I love about volunteering is the ability to come into people’s lives and be remembered for spreading joy. To be a messenger of happiness is an amazing responsibility and honor. I am blessed to work with other like-minded individuals who seek a life filled with helping others and making even the smallest difference in someone’s life. Though I am a full-time wish granter, I wanted to do something else, something more, before I turned 30. Continue reading
Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately. Between work, volunteering, progressing toward goals, and my social life, I have been pulled in so many different directions that I often can’t tell if up is down or right is left. Days fly by in the blink of an eye and I wonder when I might catch a moment to take a deep breath and sit back to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Alas, that time has not come yet and as soon as one project is completed, three more get added to the ever-growing to-do list.
Last week, two amazing things happened: I finally went public with my blog, sharing it with friends and family and I was Freshly Pressed.
It’s a scary word, made even more frightening when coming from the lips of your doctor. But the diagnosis is only the beginning. What follows are overwhelming statistics, painful surgeries, poisonous treatments, and a life changed forever. A person can do everything right in their life and a tumor shows up on a scan, forcing them to confront a terrifying new world of IVs and head scarves.
It’s rare to find someone who hasn’t lost someone from cancer. My grandmother bravely fought and conquered colon cancer, only to have it return ten years later, ultimately claiming her life. My healthy uncle succumbed to squamous cell carcinoma within a year of his diagnosis. Just two years ago, I attended my grandfather’s funeral on the same day as William and Kate’s royal wedding. I’ve lost two co-workers to various cancers in the five years since I’ve been at my job. After a while, it all makes you feel powerless.
But you’re not. There’s a lot that you can do to help.
It’s not that I’ve been avoiding you all, I swear it’s not. It’s just that I’ve been having so much fun enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the land along the Rhine. I think about you all the time and wish you could be here with me on this lovely holiday. There is so much I can’t wait to post about when I return home. I want to share it all with you and I hope you’ll enjoy the ride.
Are there ever times in life where you start to lose faith in your fellow-man? When people’s characters seem so ugly that you wonder how it is we got this far and why we seem to be getting worse and not better?
Today has been one of those days. But before I get into the details, I need to share a little back story.
A week or so ago, I received a friend request on Facebook from someone I went to junior high with. Now, my middle school years were my ugly ones. Quite literally. I was a geeky girl with frizzy hair, a mouth full of metal, skin that made the Proactiv ladies millions, and glasses that took up half of my face. Needless to say, I was not popular and don’t look very fondly on those formative years. So when I got a request from Peter, I didn’t immediately accept it.
I was a little surprised to even get a request from him. He was one of the popular guys who was actually decent and not a total jerk to everyone. We went to the same high school though I rarely saw him and I can honestly say, I haven’t thought of him since I graduated. Since I did have fond memories of him, I went ahead and accepted the request as I figured he was trying to reach out to people from our class in lieu of our ten-year reunion next year. I checked out his profile, found out he was living a few hours away, and put him back in that we’re-not-friends-but-I-don’t-hate-you imaginary box that is reserved for most folks you only see on Facebook and never interact with in real life.
Sunday I learned Peter had been in a fatal car accident. He was 27.
There is something to be gained when helping others. You are introduced to people you might never meet and experience joy that you never knew was possible. Despite always referring to my 20’s as the “selfish years,” I find the act of volunteering a great way to keep in touch with the human condition and remind others that there is still hope in a world where children torment their bus monitor.
When I finished grad school a few years ago, I was happy to have my life back. No more weekends where I have to tell my friends I can’t hang out because I had to banish myself to the library. It was time to regain my social life, rejoin the race of the non-studious, and have some fun. And I knew just what I wanted to do: volunteer.
In high school, I was actively involved with Key Club run through the Kiwanis organization. We did a lot of stuff in the community including library readings and delivering Thanksgiving meals to nursing homes. It was a blast and it never really felt like I was sacrificing my time. To find another organization to volunteer my time was not an easy task. A lot of groups had weekly meetings that I could not attend because of work or were not accepting new volunteers. Plus, I wasn’t even sure what type of organization I wanted to volunteer for. There are so many causes out there (animals, diseases, poverty, violence, etc.) that I knew I had to start with who I wanted to help and go from there.
Today has been one of those days that has reminded me of how much social networking is completely ruining human interaction and how irritating it can really be. As a self-proclaimed Facebook addict, I am ready to get up on my soapbox and share with all the Wonderlings what drives me crazy about my favorite, irritation-inducing website.
For a while now, I have wanted to share with all the Wonderlings (what I have finally decided to call my readers) a collection of recommendations if you will. Inspired by many blogs out there, behold the Wonderland Registry!
The Wonderland Registry will contain many of my favorite things—raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens—and a few new obsessions that I simply can’t get enough of. I hope to turn this into a recurring post and welcome any and all recommendations.
Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we? Continue reading
A month or so ago, I had a conversation with a woman in her late-50’s/early 60’s about the internet. The topics ranged from protecting one’s personal information to hours wasted on social games and networking sites. Then she said something that caused the wrinkle between my eyebrows to deepen and the corners of my smile to fall: “And then there’s blogging… what a waste of time.”