Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Action of Compassion

My fear in organizing friends and family to make health kits for Haiti was that some would do it out of guilt, or a sense of obligation. And I did have at least one friend admit that guilt is what drove her to get her kids in the car, haul them to Wal-Mart and bring the things for the health kits over to my house on a super cold winter night. I'm glad she was honest with me because I have thought about that a lot. I take no offense whatsoever, and totally agree with her! Guilt is what drives us to do many things. I might feel the exact same way if I were in her shoes.

Then I think about the words of another friend who also gave health kits for Haiti yesterday. Her wise words are ringing in my ears: "We SHOULD feel obligated to help." I guess that hits at the heart of where I'm coming at with all of this. It's not just that I want to help. It's that I NEED to help. I look around and see the abundance that I have...I see the faces of the Haitians who had nothing to begin with and now have even less. And I DO feel guilt. I DO feel obligated. But is that such a bad thing???

I think we all know the answer to that one. Whatever drives us to act can't be a bad thing. Action is the root of compassion, IMHO.

But I digress.....
The health kits for Haiti project was a huge success! We collected over 30 health kits and also a large monetary donation that will be sent to the LWR warehouse in St. Paul very soon. From there the kits will most likely head straight to Haiti. The first health kits shipment (along with layette kits, quilts, etc...) arrived in Haiti on Monday. But so much more is needed! I know that these kits will go to people who desperately need them.

Big hugs to my awesome friends and family for acting on their compassion for the Haitian people. No small act of kindness is ever wasted!!!

I hope that we will not become complacent as times goes on. I don't want to forget, I don't want my support for these people to wain. They will need our help for a long, long time to come.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Health Kits for Haiti

As I have mentioned in the last couple of posts, the tragedy in Haiti has affected me deeply. It has affected everyone deeply. It’s been hard to watch the devastation in Haiti and not be moved to tears. We all want to do something to help, but feel helpless. I have prayed, donated…but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough. But we CAN HELP!

Lutheran World Relief is an organization that I trust. They have been responding to disasters around the world for over 65 years. You can learn more about LWR at They are always in need of health kits to send to people around the world who need them but now with the situation in Haiti the need is even greater. They have already sent hundreds of kits to Haiti but need more.

I read this blog post from LWR President John Nunes that inspired me to take immediate action: “Our stock of health kits is critically low. With so many homeless and in need, for every health kit we give, there are many more families who need one. Please consider donating health kits to LWR so that we can continue to meet needs in Haiti and around the world.”

I am asking friends and family to make health kits and drop them off at our house next week, and I am hoping for a big response! (I will take pics and be blogging a thank you to all my friends and family who donate next week.) But if YOU would like to help you can also make health kits and send them to LWR. Follow the links above for more instructions! It's SO easy. It's a small thing that we can do for people who have lost everything.

Health Kits for Haiti: Lutheran World Relief
One hand towel, dark color recommended
One washcloth, dark color recommended
One bath-size bar (4 to 5 oz.) of soap, any brand, in its original wrapping
One adult-size toothbrush in its original packaging
One sturdy comb, remove packaging
One metal nail file or nail clippers with file attached, remove packaging (do not substitute cardboard emery boards for the file)
Six Band-Aids® (or similar brand), preferably 1/2" to 3/4"; secure together with a rubber band

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I am feeling optimistic today.

First of all, although I am still stunned by the depth of suffering in Haiti, I feel optimistic for their future. Helen Keller said it best: "The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it." The power of millions of people coming together for a common cause is a beautiful thing to watch. The prayers, money and support that is flowing is amazing. I am planning a little event to help Haiti, and will talk more about it when plans are more solid.

Then, I am feeling optimistic about my future, my career. There are some good things on the horizon. Remember when I said I feel like I am on the verge of something BIG but I just didn't know what it was?? I think I am starting to figure it out. Maybe. We will see. Stay tuned ;)

I am also feeling optimistic about my ability to keep kicking butt with my New Year's Resolutions. Have you noticed that it only takes a few weeks for people to STOP talking about New Year's Resolutions altogether? The questions end, the blog posts fade away...I am trying my hardest to fight that! I am still doing awesome with my cash budget and I am still working on my gratitude journal. And I am still a blonde. ;)

I hope my optimism stays. I like how it feels.

p.s. Do you heart I Heart Faces?? Well then you need to check out THIS entry! It's amazing!!! (but then again, I might be a little biased...)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Trying to make sense of it all...

I don't even really know where to begin with this post. My mind is swimming with all of the images from Haiti...and I can't wrap my brain around it all. The suffering, the pain, the children. It's too much to process. I guess I can't even imagine, in my wildest nightmares, what they are going through right now. I heard a report this morning of children sleeping amongst the scores of dead bodies because there is literally no other place to go. They have no help. No hope.

I found myself crying this morning, as I am now, and I wondering what all the suffering is for. What is the purpose? If you believe in God you look to Him for answers. I am still praying for those answers to come.

I see the pictures of the children who have been hurt, killed, orphaned...and I see Miles. I literally see his face everywhere. You can't help but think, "What if that was MY child who was suffering?" The pain of that thought is truly too much. But I see his face because he literally looks like so many of the children in the pictures and video coming out of Haiti. It's inevitable that we should hug our kids a little tighter and thank God that they are safe. But what about the thousands of children right now who aren't safe? What about the kids who are scared and lonely and hungry and cold? Who will hug them??

Of course this has nothing to do with me, my feelings or how we all deal with this internally. It has everything to do with how we respond to it.

We can pray. I believe in the power of prayer. But of course the power of prayer is not in the ones praying it, it is in the ONE who is hearing our prayers.

We can give. Two organizations that I trust and am going to donate to are Lutheran World Relief and the American Red Cross.

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 GW Fresh Air Act

Clearly, my husband has too much time on his hands.

I got this from him in an email today (see below), and just had to share it. I think it's rather brilliant and well thought out. I would totally sign this into law if it were a real "Act" and if I were a real elected leader. It is not and I am not, but it's fun to think about anyway.

This all stems from a co-worker of his who goes out for smoke breaks and comes back smelling like she just baked herself in an oven full of cigarettes. He can't stand it. The entire 'campus' they work on is smoke free, and he feels that should also cover not having to smell second-hand stale cigarette smoke every couple of hours. He works in cubicle-land (ever seen the movie Office Space? Um, yeah...) so it's close quarters. If you have too much garlic for lunch I'm afraid your buddy in the cube next to you is going to know about it. It's a fact of life. But I think his argument has some teeth, I really do. Because isn't it true that if you are a smoker you are somehow automatically entitled to take more breaks, therefore work LESS than everyone else? I'm just sayin'...

Of course, this is all in good fun. But there is something SO TRUE about it, too.

2010 GW Fresh Air Act

Sponsor: GW

Submission Date: January 11, 2010

1. Petition:

a. I, GW, hereby declare that smoke breaks shall include a minimum of five (5) minutes spent outside after extinguishing the cigarette.

2. Multiple Smoker Clause:

a. If there are multiple smokers (more than one individual) at a given location, the five minute air-out period must be spent walking or otherwise moving in an area of fresh air. This will eliminate the collection of second hand smoke on clothing and in lungs before returning to work.

3. Productivity adjustment:

a. All non-smokers shall henceforth receive a 6.3% increase in compensation. All smokers shall suffer a 6.3% decrease in compensation. 8 hours worked per day, 2 smoke breaks, 15 minutes per break, .5/8=6.3% of the day wasted outside while the hard-working non-smokers are toiling away to compensate for the deficiencies of the smoker.

b. If a smoker illegally receives the compensation increase dedicated to non-smokers he/she shall pay retribution to the organization for maliciously harming all non-smokers and be tied outside by the pinky toes for the five minutes missed.

4. Punishment:

a. If the air-out period is not properly recognized the accused shall be required to pay a fine of no less than $50 per occurrence to all co-workers affected by the stench. No limit on the number of co-workers. “Affected by the stench” can be defined as simply smelling the smoke when the accused person walks by.

5. Exclusions:

a. If a company installs car wash dryers on the exterior doorway near the smoke break area the five minute air-out period will not be necessary. If the blowers are not working properly or are being serviced for routine maintenance the five minute air-out period will be enforced.

and Grant ;)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rockin' the Resolutions

I must say I am kicking @ss at my resolutions. I'm kicking their butt and it feels great. Maybe I shouldn't really gloat yet since we are only 8 days into 2010. I have a looooooong way to go. Ah, heck, I'm gonna go ahead and gloat about my 8 day streak ;)

Here's where I'm at with my afore-mentioned resolutions:

1. I am a blonde again. Yep, got my hair did on NYE day and it was decadently awesome. Oh, except for the moment when my colorist says, "Yeah, the highlights will be perfect for covering all of your gray hair." Yes, ma'am. She actually said that. Little 22 year old punk. ;) She is great but little does she know how much I did NOT want to hear those words from someone who is up close and personal with my locks. Oh well, such if life. BTW, blondes do have more fun ;)

2. Gratitude journal is coming along swimmingly. I am not someone who is good at doing something at the same time every single day (like I suck at taking pills at the same time every day) but somehow this is different. I look forward to writing down the five things that I am most grateful for that day. I already cherish the memories that are written in that book. I have also added a layer to my Operation Attitude of Gratitude: I am going to tell people who end up in my gratitude journal that I am grateful for them. I think it's so important to tell others around us how we feel about them and how special they are to us....before it's too late. So, my friends, expect to hear about my gratitude for YOU.

3. I haven't really mentioned this as a resolution on the blog, per se, but I did mention that we had our finances on the brain. A read of Total Money Makeover has led to another REALLY IMPORTANT resolution: getting out of debt. Not to go into too much detail but we aren't in deep financial debt...we are just not in a place that we feel comfortable with. So it has to change. We don't use credit cards at all so that is one things that we don't need to worry about. But, for some rather obvious reasons, we have made some life choices (good choices!!) that have left us in a little bit of a hole that we need to dig out of. Step one of our total money makeover was to put a significant amount of money into a savings account. DONE. Step two was to go to a CASH budget. This is the one that I was totally and completely dreading. My debit card and I have a special relationship and did not want to part with it. ;) But part with it I have. We have allotted ourselves a certain amount of cash per month (after all bills are paid) and when it's's GONE. Here's the surprising thing: That which I thought was going to be super hard and restrictive has turned out to be freeing and easy!! I love the challenge of having the cash in pocket but I also have the power to NOT spend it. I have done really really well so far. It's amazing how much dough you drop on little things here and there that all add up--a coffee here, a lunch there. It all adds up. Now that we are doing the cash budget I really have to think ahead. Like I said, it's somehow so freeing. Just like He-Man: I HAVE THE POWER! Ha. I will keep you posted on how I'm doing as the weeks roll on. Oh, and a great side effect of the cash budget is less eating out which equals less calories which equals less weight which is equals less Anne which equals more happiness ;)

I have some other goals for the new year, like meal planning and parenting stuff, but for now I am happy with my progress on the others.

I have loved reading about all of your resolutions on your blogs. Keep it up!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Books Are Friends That Never Fail

I have always been a reader. I grew up on Berenstain Bears and Dr. Seuss (I am especially fond of Seuss--see his quote in my header). I remember reading books like Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends over and over again until I had those poems memorized. I remember devouring Sweet Valley High books like they were my last meal. I recall reading The Catcher in the Rye in high school and being utterly amazed by it. Night by Elie Wiesel changed my entire perspective on the world and opened my eyes in powerful ways. In college I got addicted to reading about Kay Scarpetta's adventures in Patricia Cornwell's thriller series. Books have always been a part of my life. I have always loved the escapism involved in reading books. Maybe that's why I am a movie lover, too. Books and movies and transport you to another place ... whenever, wherever.

OH, and this post about books would not be complete without a tribute to my beloved Twilight series. No, Stephanie Meyer is not William Shakespeare. She is not even William Faulkner. But her books RIVETED me. I have read the entire series. Twice. I have seen the first movie like a million times. And now that I have seen New Moon I am changing my status to TEAM JACOB. Yes, he's 17. But have you SEEN him?? Yowsa.

And now that I have lost the respect of half my readers I shall go on...

I joined a book club right after Miles was born. How nuts is that?? How I ever had the time to read (on a schedule) during that particular moment in our lives is beyond me. I vaguely remember not watching a whole lot of TV and stealing time to read a page or two before I fell into a coma at night. Well, a two hour coma before my newborn woke me up again. But a coma nonetheless. It was during that sleep-deprived "what-the-hell-do-I-do-with-this-7-pound-dictator" time that books saved my life. Yes, I will say it again: Books saved my life.

I don't want to be overly dramatic about this because books didn't literally save my life but they did save it in a more figurative way. Looking back I think I needed to take that mental break every day (or in the middle of the night). All moms need to practice self-care and give themselves a break. I think this was one way I took care of myself, had a little "me" time. If you are my friend IRL, you have probably heard me say more than one time that the newborn stage was NOT my favorite. I truly didn't enjoy it. I know, it's sad that I didn't enjoy it. But there's the truth. I didn't. I have enjoyed every other stage since then. But I had no idea how much my life was going to change when our little bundle of joy came into our lives. And he came fast. Most parents have about 9 months or so to prepare. We had 2 days. I was in a permanent state of shock for several months. Books came to my rescue. They took me back to equilibrium faster anything else could.

"Books are friends that never fail." Dr. William Mayo

And then there is my wonderful bookclub. You can't manufacture this kind of chemistry that we have. It just WORKS. We just click. We don't always agree on everything but our conversations are priceless. What amazing women. The bookclub became a little oasis of calmness and centeredness for me. I felt like an adult when I went to bookclub, and still do. During those first few difficult months when I was trying my hardest to get my bearings it was a God-sent miracle. Here's the baby, honey, see ya after bookclub! Ah, sweet freedom. I took a shower, put on makeup and actually did my hair. It was fabulous. I have learned so much from books, and I learn even more from the smart women that populate our bookclub. Sometimes things come along in our lives just at the right time. Funny how that works.

And the BEST part about bookclub? The wine. ;)


By the way, here are my favorites, so far, from bookclub:

Gang of One

Eat, Pray, Love

Water for Elephants

Three Cups of Tea

The Year of Living Biblically

Peace Like a River

Marley and Me (book way better than the movie, IMHO)


Maybe that is why I spend so much time reading to Miles. It's so important to me, and I want him to love reading just as much as I do. The first time he brought me a book and climbed up on my lap was one of the best moments of motherhood so far. I hope he always keeps that childish enthusiasm for books. Books are life!

Speaking of books, I have an announcement to make!

Drumroll please!

Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for my very first GIVEAWAY! I will be giving away a SIGNED copy of the best parenting book ever written. And it's one you've probably never heard of. Curious? Check back for more details soon!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I can't even come up with a title for this post

I got nothin'.

I am having a huge mental block and cannot write anything to save my life. I can't even compose a status update on FB, that's how empty my brain is.

No idea where this is coming from but I hope the mental constipation ends soon. I need a laxative for my brain.