Thanks for Supporting ALZ

For the third year we participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

imageThis year, Team B. Lou was joined by Team Garmany at Tuscawilla Park for the 2.4 mile walk.

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Members of our team were walking in memory of John’s mom, Carole’s dad and Becky’s grandfather as well as other family members who have been affected by this disease.

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Together we raised over $1700.

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Thanks to everyone who supported the walk.

Post a Picture of Mom

In anticipation of Mother’s Day next Sunday, Macy’s will donate $3 to five charities for every Throwback picture posted of Mom on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr using #MacysLovesMoms through Mother’s Day, May 10th.

Pictures can be posted any day of the week, not just on the traditional Throwback Thursday and donations will be made to Futures Without Violence®, Go Red for Women®, Make-a-Wish®, Reading is Fundamental and my favorite, National Park Foundation.

So it’s time to get busy locating your best photos of your Mom to share Monday Memories, Throwback Thursday, Flashback Friday as well as every other day of the week.

I need to get busy looking for more of these old throwback pictures to post all week.

R.A.C.K. Revisited

RACK banner[11]Late last December I posted a message about R.A.C.K., a plan to practice random acts of Christmas kindness. Unfortunately, it was only a couple of days before Christmas with little time remaining to put the plan into action so here it is again.

In middle school, your writing teacher assigned a project on random acts of kindness, an idea that started in a Sausalito, California, restaurant in 1982 when Anne Herbert scrawled the words “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat. From this simple start, bumper stickers spread the idea and a book was published filled with stories of random acts of kindness, which started a kind of chain reaction. You were asked to find an example of someone who participated in performing these acts of kindness not only as a writing assignment, but to encourage you to think about how you could be a part of this movement.

Without even thinking about it, you frequently do little things that add beauty to the lives of others. You may bring in the grocery cart for a fellow shopper, compliment someone, reach an item on a shelf, or hold the door…all simple acts, but acts that brighten the days of others. However, by thinking about acts of kindness and acting intentionally, we can bring smiles to the faces of those we meet.

So what’s R.A.C.K.? Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. Recently, I’ve come across several websites with ideas to make the Christmas season a time to make these acts, not just random, but planned to spread good cheer. In fact, you may want to search random acts of Christmas kindness on Pinterest. The ideas are boundless.

Perhaps you can think of a couple of ways you can make an impact during the next month that focus on Christmas kindness. I’m making plans. This is a good tradition to add to the Christmas season. And who knows, once you get thinking and doing, you may decide to make intentional acts a kindness a year round project.

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The Bucket Challenge

I know what you’re thinking – she left out the word ICE in the title. Well, no, that was intentional.

First, I LOVE the ice bucket challenge! I’ve enjoyed watching videos of friends, relatives, strangers, celebrities, and college presidents taking the ice bucket challenge. I click on the link to every video despite the fact they’re all pretty much the same and each one brings a smile to my face.

We’ve lost three family members to ALS in the past decade. My dad’s cousin’s husband, Howard, my mom’s uncle, Condit, and John’s cousin’s husband, Gary all suffered with this disease and lost their battles.

In addition, two neighbors have been diagnosed with ALS and seeing the changes in Jim has been heartbreaking. I’m delighted at the publicity and donations rolling in to such a worthwhile organization.

However, the reason I left out the word ICE is because I’m taking a different challenge. My daughter Sarah issued the following challenge:

photoand I accepted as did her sister Emily. (In fact, you should read what Emily posted on her blog about the #icebucketchallenge.) Of course, Emily challenged her Dad, and since both girls knew their sister, Meghan had already contributed $100 to our team for next month’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, she wasn’t called out!

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What a great thing the ice bucket challenge has been! It’s started conversations about ALS. It’s encouraged people to donate to the A.L.S. Association; but it’s also started an even bigger conversation about the numerous organizations that need our support, both financial and as volunteers.

So, to the A.L.S. Association, yes, the check is in the mail. And on Saturday, September 6th, I’ll be walking to end Alzheimer’s. Our team can use your help! Click here to donate.

And instead of calling out any individual to accept the ice bucket challenge, I’d like to challenge everyone who reads this to make a contribution of time or money to any organization you feel passionate about. No ice required, but heck, it’s August and the “Feels Like” temperature is 100°, icy cold water may be just what you need to cool off.

 

 

UMCOR Relief-Supply Kits

After the tornadoes devastated Moore, OK in May, I discovered the website of UMCOR, United Methodist Committee on Relief. A ministry of the United Methodist Church. The goal of UMCOR is to assist persons affected by crisis when war, conflict, or natural disasters disrupt lives.

Volunteers, relief supplies, and donations were coordinated through the UMCOR Relief-Supply Network in what’s expected to be a one to two year response.

Donating to UMCOR is an effective way to help since 100% of donations go to the relief efforts.

In addition to monetary donations, the UMCOR website provides instructional videos on how to put together Relief-Supply Kits. Directions for a Bedding Kit, Birthing Kit, Cleaning Bucket, Health Kit, Layette Kit, Sewing Kit, and School Kit are included. While I like the idea of preparing a kit to send, I decided making a monetary contribution would be more effective. However, I did prepare a Cleaning Bucket for personal use as part of our hurricane preparations this year.

The UMCOR team has already approved a $97,000 grant for food, water, and purifying tablets for the Philippians in response to Typhoon Haiyan.

You can make a $10 donation to help relief efforts for Typhoon #Haiyan by texting “UMCOR” to 80888.

A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Message and Data Rates may apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. All purchases must be authorized by the account holder. By participating you certify that you are 18 years or older and/or have parental permission. Donations are collected for UMCOR and subject to the terms found at igfn.org/t. Privacy policy: igfn.org/p. Text STOP to 80888 to stop; Text HELP to 80888 for help.

I hope you’ll help!

 

 

Thanks from Team B. Lou

Team B. Lou walked with hundreds of others last Saturday in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We participated in honor of B. Lou, my mother in law who died in 2010 after struggling with dementia.

Six of us walked the 2 1/2 mile course on Saturday getting our exercise for the day and participating a “brain healthy” activity.

And they're off!
And they’re off!

Our goal: raise $1000 in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s mission

To end Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for those affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Promise Garden Finish Line
Promise Garden Finish Line

I’m proud to announce that with the support of family, friends, and co-workers we exceeded our goal.

In fact, Team B. Lou was the 4th highest fundraiser in the Ocala walk…the top non-business team. We shattered our goal of raising $1000 by bringing in 154% of our goal or $1539!  John was even recognized as a top-earner and initiated into the Champion’s Club.

Thanks again to all who contributed to our team’s success!

Oh, and if you’re a procrastinator, it’s not to late to donate! Contributions can be added through the remainder of 2013 by clicking here.

 

Give Back

One way to have a better day is to give back or do something for someone else. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day life going to work or school, cooking dinner or doing laundry, grocery shopping or paying bills. Then you need to find time for friends and family while trying to take care of yourself. There seems to be so much to do and so little time.

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However, it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to make a difference in the lives of others. Of course staying in touch with family and friends is a good start especially when you know that someone is dealing with a stressful situation. Making a phone call, sending a text, bringing over a meal, or providing some R & R can make a world of difference. Even when you don’t know what to say or do, just knowing that you care can brighten someone’s day.

But beyond helping family and friends there are so many ways you can help others. One way to do this is to make a donation to support a cause you believe in. You may want to help the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Jude’s, or any number of organizations that support medical research. You may donate to the United Methodist Children’s Home, Salvation Army, or the American Red Cross. Participating in a run, walk-a-thon, or some other activity is a terrific way to support a cause. You can even become a member of your local NPR or PBS station or make a donation to your alma mater. Worthwhile organizations with financial needs seem to be endless.

Remember you can also donate things other than money. Donate clothes, furniture, or other household items to the Rape Crisis Center,  the Humane Society Thrift Store, or Dress for Success. You may also donate food to a local food pantry or to an organization like the Boy Scouts who organize a food drive. And if you’re very brave, you can donate blood. I was rejected on my only attempt to give blood, but I’m determined to give it another try.

Finally, you can donate your time to an organization you want to support. This type of “giving back” certainly can be the most rewarding. You can give a few hours of your time participating in a one day event like a river clean up or serving a meal at a homeless shelter. This is probably the most practical way to volunteer since there are so many opportunities to participate in one day activities. Or you can devote time weekly or monthly to serve a need you are passionate about. Of course you can volunteer at your local library or hospital, with a youth group or a political campaign, the choices are endless.

From Points of Light website: www.pointsoflight.org
From Points of Light website: www.pointsoflight.org

Over the years, I’ve volunteered with children’s programs at church, coached, assisted with fundraising drives, and helped sports leagues. I’ve volunteered at runner’s club events, cross country and track meets, and have been a perennial driver for various teams. However, I haven’t consistently volunteered. There have been times when I should have done more to give back. Now that I’m committed to giving back regularly, I know I’ll always be involved in volunteer activities. I’m sure the organizations will change over the years, but giving back is now an important part of my life.

I know each of you are giving back, but I just wanted to remind you that these acts are important and make your communities a better place. Thank you for helping others and remember as your life gets more hectic, continue to find time to give back. You can and do make a difference.

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Mom

Neighbor Campaign Wrap Up

heartOver a month ago, the American Heart Association’s Dear Neighbor campaign kicked off their fund-raising effort in which individuals send notes to their neighbors asking for contributions to support their projects. As I wrap up this fund raising effort, I thought I’d share the Get Healthy with Life’s Simple 7 included in the Dear Neighbor fund raising letter provided by the American Heart Association.

 

 

Get Healthy with Life’s Simple 7

1. Get Active. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times per week.

2. Control Cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends the following: Eat healthy foods that are low in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats. A diet high in fiber also helps keep cholesterol levels controlled.

3. Eat Better. A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease.

4. Manage Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease.

5. Lose Weight. If you have too much fat – especially if a lot of it is at your waist – you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes.

6. Reduce Blood Sugar. When you reduce excessive sugars, you are giving yourself the best chance for a healthy life.

7. Stop Smoking. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm, and blood clots.

If you were not contacted by the Dear Neighbor campaign and wish to make a contribution, visit their website and look for the giving tab.

Dear Neighbor

heartThe February after we moved in our house, our neighbor, Mac stopped by one Sunday afternoon with an envelope for us to make a donation to the American Heart Association. He volunteered in their Dear Neighbor campaign by contacting those on our street requesting donations. Mac’s plan was quite successful. How could I turn him down when he stopped my to chat and then said it was time to collect donations for the Heart Association?

I know he left our house with a check every year and my guess is that he collected checks from most of the neighbors. Then about five years ago I was contacted by the American Heart Association and asked to take over the task of contacting neighbors for contributions. Mac was no longer in good health and hadn’t participated for a couple of years so they were looking for a new volunteer.

I felt that taking over Mac’s responsibility with this project was one small way I could help him since I knew this was an organization he felt strongly about. Of course, my own grandmother suffered multiple heart attacks and benefitted from research supported by the American Heart Association and my mom has a pacemaker so this this is an organization I would have supported anyway.

It’s February! It’s time for the Dear Neighbor campaign! I’ve addressed the envelopes, mailed them to my neighbors, and now I’m waiting for their donations to roll in. I’m sure Mac would have collected more money with his door-to-door efforts, but that’s not my style. Thanks for your support!

Make R.A.C.K. a new tradition.

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In middle school, your writing teacher assigned a project on random acts of kindness, an idea that started in a Sausalito, California, restaurant in 1982 when Anne Herbert scrawled the words “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat. From this simple start, bumper stickers spread the idea and a book was published filled with stories of random acts of kindness, which started a kind of chain reaction. You were asked to find an example of someone who participated in performing these acts of kindness not only as a writing assignment, but to encourage you to think about how you could be a part of this movement.

Without even thinking about it, you frequently do little things that add beauty to the lives of others. You may bring in the grocery cart for a fellow shopper, compliment someone, reach an item on a shelf, or hold the door…all simple acts, but acts that brighten the days of others. However, by thinking about acts of kindness and acting intentionally, we can bring smiles to the faces of those we meet.

So what’s R.A.C.K.? Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. Recently, I’ve come across several websites with ideas to make the Christmas season a time to make these acts, not just random, but planned to spread good cheer. In fact, you may want to search random acts of Christmas kindness on Pinterest. The ideas are boundless.

I know it’s a little late in the season to suggest this, but perhaps you can think of a couple of ways you can make an impact during the next couple of weeks that focus on Christmas kindness. I’m making plans for this week, and I will definitely make this a new tradition for Christmas 2013. And who knows, once you get thinking and doing, you may decide to make intentional acts a kindness a year round project.

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