Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 52 - Volunteer.

One thing that I have always loved and always felt was my reason for being is helping others so I was looking forward to today's deed.  I registered with my church over a month ago to volunteer with today's organization, Feeding my Starving Children, but I did not know the impact that this particular organization would have on me. This Christian non-profit organization is committed to feeding God's children and their approach is quite simple; children and adults like me, hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and they ship the meals to nearly 70 countries around the world.

USA Today recently had an article stating that the head of the U.N. Food Agency reported that 18,000 children die every single day because of hunger and malnutrition and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs.

In 1982, a businessman from Minnesota by the name of Richard Proudfit started completing missions with his church mainly in Honduras; upon completing these missions he saw the simple needs of children who just wanted a bite of food and heard God say "if you've seen my starving children, feed them". In early 1987 he incorporated Feed My Starving Children to develop an original meal formula. Cargill food scientist Dr. Richard Fulmer teamed up with colleagues from Pillsbury and General Mills to develop a nutritious "Fortified Rice Soy Casserole" for malnourished children also known as MannaPack Rice.

This meal consists of four main ingredients; rice which is the most widely accepted grain around the world), extruded soy nuggets which provide maximum protein at lowest cost, vitamins and minerals with a vegetarian flavoring to give growing children the critical nutritional elements they need and dehydrated vegetables for flavor and nutrition. The pack is simple and for the abundance of food that we are used to in the states, it seemed small to me; what shocked me the most is that each of these small MannaPack's feeds 6 children. In the two hours that I helped out, our crew packed 976 boxes which contained 202,394 meals for starving children all around the world, their goal is 1 million. As our announcer was advising us the amount of boxes we packed they got note that the boxes from the previous day had arrived in Nicaragua.

I know that our daily schedules are usually jam packed, but I also know from experience that there is no better feeling in the world than to help out a complete stranger in need. No matter how you give back, the feeling you get knowing you've made a difference in someone's life is priceless. Take a few minutes to step out of your routine and help change the lives of others and make a difference in our local communities, and if you're still not convinced click here to see reasons why you should volunteer that may benefit you. Ask your friends, families and coworkers to join you in volunteering.

I would like to say thank you for those already out in the community and encourage everyone to keep up the good work and enjoy every minute of it. Helping others and giving back to your community can change your life.

And if you haven't yet, become a volunteer!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 51 - Read more about a cause that you are interested in.

Out of the deeds I have completed thus far, this has got to be one of my favorites because I found out about amazing causes that I had no idea even existed. With today's modern technology, it isn't crazy to say that computers rule the world and social media is at an all time high. With the click of a button on Facebook alone can make a local cause become a global one which can turn into a personal movement.

It was hard for me to choose only one cause that touched my heart and made me want to get involved and I hope the following information makes the same impact on you. The cause that I chose as my number one is one that has hit close to home; Inheritance of Hope, like many, breast cancer has affected my family and people close to me. I urge you to fight for a cause today, because if you stand for nohing, you'll fall for anything. Here are just a few amazing non-profit organizations that might impact you to make a difference:

Inheritance ofHope – This amazing organizations goal is to improve the well-being in the lives of children and families diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. They provide books and literatures for children, life-changing retreats, and individual and group ongoing support - spiritually, emotionally, and financially. The purpose of this Christian faith-based organization is that they believe that preparing for the death of a parent while they are living will yield significant long-term benefits for children and a proactive, therapeutic focus for the parent. Like them on Facebook and/or Twitter to find out more about them and fight for this cause.
 ♥ Lupus Foundation of America – Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. Many people are unaware of this disease yet it affects approximately 1.5 million Americans, and at least five million people worldwide. This amazing non-profit organization is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus. One of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable, and devastating diseases, while giving support to those who suffer brutal impact through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy. Like them on Facebook and/or Twitter to find out more about them and fight for this cause. – Did you know that 780 million people around the world lack access to clean water? is a non-profit organization concerned with empowering and working with communities to meet their own water and sanitation needs. Their efforts are focused in Asia, Africa and Central America. A lot of big celebrity names are involved in this one - it's a fantastic campaign and worth following.  To find out more about this organization and to get involved, like them on Facebook and/or Twitter.

 ♥  Doctors WithoutBorders – Is an amazing non-profit international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists; their purpose is to provide independent, impartial assistance in more than 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. MSF has won the Nobel Peace Prize and provides free healthcare for those most in need all over the world, they are an amazing organization who focus on humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality; the organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. You can volunteer globally or locally to help those who can’t help themselves. To get more involved with this organization like them on Facebook and/or Twitter.
 ♥ Feed My Starving Children – I actually worked with this non-profit Christian organization several times in the past and every single time I get involved with them it touches my heart. This organization is committed to feeding God's children hungry in body and spirit. The approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and they ship the meals to nearly 70 countries around the world. Learn more about this organization, donating two hours of your day can feed thousands of children. Donating a couple hours of your day to help out this organization can feed over 100 children. To get involved with this remarkable cause, like them on Facebook and/or Twitter.
If none of the above causes appeal to you, you can go to; there's thousands of organizations which you can get involved with and support. Remember, if stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything. Make a difference today and you won't regret it!!!!♥


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 50 - Start a birthday calendar to help you remember to mail cards.

As mentioned in previous deeds I've had to complete, sending a hand-written note, card, letter or anything for that matter is non-existent. In a world of texts, e-mails and technology, handwritten notes are getting rarer and rare because they require that heinous thing called "effort".

I have always been extremely old fashioned, growing up I remember how excited I would get whenever I would receive a card or letter in the mail. I felt so special and I just couldn't wait to open it; that feeling has always stayed with me and until this day I have a box filled with most cards that I’ve received, whenever I want to feel cherished, I open the box and take a walk down memory lane which always leaves me with a smile on my face. But hand written cards slowly stopped coming. Even today as an adult, when I check the mail and get a written card from someone, even if it's my dentist’s office thanking me for being their patient, I get a pang of happiness because they took time out of their day, even if it was paid time, to write me a personal thank you note.

Although we are living in a digital world, I am one of the rare people that still send hand-written thank you cards, holiday cards and birthday cards if I remember to; so of course when I saw today's deed I was kind of excited about it. I went out and bought a small calendar which fits in any bag and even slides into my daily planner. The hard part was finding out my friends and distant family members birthdays but thanks to the wonderful world of technology also known as Facebook, I am almost complete with this project.

If we could all agree on one thing it would be that we all love to feel special and/or treasured. I'm obviously not going to ask you to start a birthday calendar like I did because that's a big commitment to keep but I am asking if you have the opportunity to send a hand-written birthday card, please do, I guarantee the person on the receiving end will show you the upmost gratitude for your caring. There's still something to be said for taking the time to hand-write your thoughts - whether it be your feelings for a loved one, condolences for a friend who has experienced a loss, or a simple thank you to someone who has taken the time to help you with your career - and when you send that real letter or card, send it the old fashioned way, via-US Postal Service. Let's not lose the art of writing down our feelings completely, or our memories and sentiments will disappear into internet purgatory when our in-boxes automatically delete old files!♥

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 49 - Make time to visit an art museum.

I was looking forward to today's deed more than usual; the reason being is that I have always been a fan of the arts. One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2013 was to do more things that I loved so I actually started taking painting classes which commence this upcoming weekend.
Unfortunately, unlike New York City, Miami does not have many art museums so I didn't have many options to choose from. Today I took the day off from work and visited MAM; the Miami Art Museum which many people don’t even know is located in Downtown Miami. The MAM is very tiny, factually only two rooms with a couple of photos and some small artwork (which I was not allowed to take pictures of). Thankfully, right next to the art museum was Miami’s History Museum which is much larger; if I would have driven all that way to see two small rooms with barely any art; I would not have been a happy camper. - As you can see from the pictures below, my day ended well; I learned a lot about how my city originated and the generations before mine which was amazing to see.

There are many reasons why you should visit an art museum near you, here are a few:

1) Art Museums inspire you. - The primary role of art museums is education through enlightenment. Art inspires your creative side and passion. Famous Artistic Director, MatthewDirst said it best when he said "great art stops us in our tracks, at best, it's both disorientating and irresistible". Art can unblock possibilities whether it be discovering a hidden talent or passion.

2) Art Museums make you smarter. - Art museums engage and educate the community. They hold events for all ages to brighten your horizons and intrigue your creative and artistic side. Aside from visiting local museums to explore; museums usually have tight partnerships with local schools in their area so that they can work together to enhance their curriculum. MAM for example has many programs for local schools in the Miami area including Teaching Artist's Visiting your Classroom and events the entire family can attend to get more involved in the arts. It's nearly impossible to exit an art museum without having gained any inspiration or insight during your visit.

3) Art Museums create amazing impact on people. - No words needed for this one, just watch the video.

Last but not least....

4) Art Museums are usually free or very inexpensive. - Several museums nationwide offer free admission for seniors and students and admission for general entrance are usually below $10.00. They also offer free admission during specified hours of the week and offer free events as well. For instance, MAM offers free admission to children and students along with a ton of free events. Not to mention most art museums have a nationwide Free Art Museum Day AND if you have Bank of America, they have a program called Museums on Us which allows cardholders free admission nationwide to 54 museums on the first weekend of each month.

So today, pick a random day in your calendar so that you can make time to broaden your horizons and spark your creative side by visiting a local art museum near you!!



Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 48 - Write a list of things you're grateful for.

How often do you stop and take a moment to appreciate what you have in life? I'm not going to lie; I am the first that's guilty of taking things for granted. People, including myself tend to forget how blessed we truly are and take for granted the good that is present in our lives; such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort.
The beauty about having gratitude and being grateful is that it's humbling. When you write down what you are grateful for, you forget about all of your petty complaints. You forget about your expectations. You forget to cry about your failures, and boast about your success. And above all you can stop and just be grateful.

Today when I wrote my list of 1o things that I was thankful for, the first thing that came to mind was that I couldn't believe how much I take for granted on a daily basis that many can only dream of having. And then when I read it over again it put me in a calm, peaceful state and above all, left me feeling completely blessed and I couldn't help but thanking our wonderful God above. The following is "My Gratitude List":
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings and noticing the simple pleasures; it also means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you've been given.
Today's deed lifted me up so much that I vowed to start a Gratitude Journal beginning tonight and every night from now on. In my journal I will write down 10 things that I was grateful for throughout that day. I encourage you to start a gratitude journal of your own and you will see that after a few weeks, or even days, you will notice how your gratitude journal becomes something more than just a list you create at the end of every day. It becomes a way of life.
And if a journal is too much to start with at least write down your own list of 10 things you are thankful for. When you start to see with your own eyes what you're grateful for, it starts to sink in that life is for the most part, pretty amazing!

P.S. Don't forget to throw in at least two or three reasons why you are grateful for YOU. Self-love and appreciation sets the tone for all your other relationships in life!♥

"Now to Him Who, by the power that is at work within us, is able to do super abundantly, far over and above all that we ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]." - Ephesians 3:20


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 47 - Meditate for ten minutes.

Like most people, I don't stop from the second I get out of bed in the morning. One task after the other and my mind is constantly racing, thinking about what task I have to do next, have I forgotten anything, what's for lunch, what's for dinner, etc. A couple of month’s back I really got into yoga, in fact, I loved it so much that I currently do it 3 times a week. One of my favorite things about the exercise is that it not only does it work out every single part of your body physically; but it also works out your mind, mentally. You get to relax, meditate, listen to mantras and think about nothing at all. Now, if you we're to ask me if I could meditate outside of yoga class I would reply with "no chance".

Have you ever thought about how many things are running through your mind on a daily basis? I never did either until I had to do this deed. When I first tried to meditate, I chose a comfortable setting; my room, sat on my bed, lit a candle and tried to think about what they taught me in yoga, the conclusion was... it was hard, REALLY hard and it got to a point where I thought I wouldn't be able to complete my deed.

Our minds are producing a constant stream of point-less thoughts, and most of us identify so strongly with them that we don't even notice they are there. Our mental energy is exhausted by an endless stream of useless, unhelpful thoughts and opinions such as.."I  hope the Heat win's tonight, but maybe I should have picked a better restaurant? Oh, that's silly to worry about that. I wonder if that new Sushi place near Gigi's is any good? I should call her; I haven't talked to her in a while. She always understands though. Oh I should buy a movie to watch this weekend, that will be cool. I wonder what though." Chances are your mind sounds like this on a daily basis as well, and you're rarely aware of it. Very few of us are.
I came to the conclusion that for me to complete this deed I needed more than to sit on my bed with a candle and my eyes closed; so I did what I do best and turned to my handy laptop to research. I found perfect the guidelines that instructed me step by step how to meditate; the website also offered an audio version that you can listen to while meditating which is the option I opted for. I have to admit, once I completely cleared my mind and actually meditated it felt great. It left me feeling refreshed, energized, and attentive.

This deed taught me that meditation is important because it trains our minds to snip our thoughts and to focus on what's useful and important. It improves your concentration; a clear mind makes you more productive and creative. It makes you less bothered by the little things; it is the nature of the mind to magnify small things into serious problems, meditation helps us to detach and learn to live in the "here and now" rather than worrying about the past or future. Studies have proven that meditation leads to overall better health; the reason is that meditation reduces stress levels and alleviates anxiety; reducing stress benefits your health in so many ways. It also enables us to have a deeper understanding of our inner self; through meditation we can gain a better understanding of our life's purpose.
I've definitely decided to add meditation to my schedule more often because I know it will make a difference and all of us deserves some “me time”. Today try closing your eyes, click on this link and follow the simple instructions by listening. You will see what a positive difference it will make in your day, even if it's just for 5 minutes. You never know, you might like it so much that you will add it to your daily rituals. Let me know how it goes! :)
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance.    Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back. And choose the path that leads to wisdom.” – Buddha