Saturday, May 31, 2008

this just feels silly

It feels so silly to copy and paste these posts to all my blogs every day. If you want to keep up with my journey through the 29 day giving challenge... click here:

Friday, May 30, 2008

5/30: Day 5 of 29

5/30: Day 5 of 29 29 day giving challenge

Heh, what a day. Sometimes this isn't as easy as it would seem!

re: day 4: The care package I left in the ladies' room at work? Still at work. I dunno... eventually someone will take it, right? I hope.

re: day 5 On Wednesday I listed an infant car seat and 2 bases on Freecycle - yesterday a woman replied. Her 6 month old son needed a new car seat because the cat peed in the one they bought and even with washing it, she couldn't get the smell out. She stopped by and picked it up this afternoon. Seemed really sweet, and her son was just too cute!

I shot her an email after she left... it had one of the tags/images I created and the message "You've been gifted!" plus the URL, hope she joins :)

Day 5: After work I went home and had a 1/2 cup of coffee and grabbed the breast pump and headed out to give it to the girl I posted about yesterday. I expected to be a little sad about letting it go, but I feel really good about it. She was very appreciative, and promises to get it back to me. Again, if she doesn't, that's ok too. I'm really at peace with giving it to her if that's how it works out. It was the right thing to do, and in the end that's what matters - that *I* do what *I* am supposed to do. I can't control whether she does the right thing or not, and it isn't my place to try.

OK, now for everyone else's last couple of days:

Yesterday (5/29, day 4):
Kassi: defended someone at school when people were being mean to him (the amusing thing is, the person she defended was a teacher... they were making fun of his shiny bald head)

Bren: helped yet another child with their "$1,000,000 project" in class by letting him cut out and use pictures from the magazines he'd brought in.

Terra: made a plethora of I Love You Daddy pictures for her Daddy

Today: (5/30, day 5)
Kassi: helped Ashley clean out her locker

Bren: helped the bus driver with names of kids that were acting up.

Terra: really wanted to be the one to give the car seat to the lady that came today so she helped me carry it out to the porch, and she also helped me deliver the breast pump to Jennifer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Inner Conflict (pre-blogging re: day 5)

An Inner Conflict (pre-blogging re: day 5) 29 day giving challenge

When I was pregnant with Nova, I knew I'd breastfeed, as I had with Alexis and Terra. What I didn't know at the time was that he'd have a heart defect. When we found that out, I was even more resolved. Babies do best on breast milk, and babies with compromised immune systems need all the help they can get when it comes to fighting infections, so, for Nova, breast milk really was best. Unfortunately, he was in the hospital for the first 12 days of his life, and was bottle fed for that time frame. So by the time we got to bring him home, he wouldn't latch on, he had no idea what to do with a nipple made of anything other than rubber. So I got a breast pump. I didn't care if I had to be hooked up to "the cow machine" (as we fondly referred to it) 24/7, as long as I was doing what I could to help Nova thrive. And thrive he did. Many heart babies are failure to thrive babies. Not Nova, he, um... blossomed... quite nicely. He had doubled his birth weight by the time he was 2 1/2 months old. He loved to eat! But I digress...

When Nova died, I was left with tons of baby stuff. The crib, the car seats, swing, bouncy seat, and that breast pump. I put it all in storage a while, just not able to part with it. Then my young niece got pregnant and asked to borrow his things, including the breast pump. Reluctantly, I let her, on the agreement that I'd get it all back. Crazy as it may sound, I was emotionally attached to that pump. It represented the only thing I could actively do to help ensure he was healthy while he was alive.

I have not received ANY of his things back, except that pump. Which I subsequently lent to 2 other women. Each time it was passed on, I worried it would be broken or never be returned. It was not broken. It was returned. In perfect working order. They were good friends I trusted, and they proved that my (mild) concern was unfounded.

I've recently started a new job, and at this job worked a guy I went to Elementary, Middle AND High School with, but haven't seen in nearly 20 years. He and his girlfriend are BROKE. His girlfriend is pregnant. I am not overly fond of said girlfriend, and frankly, I don't trust her to properly care for this pump.

And yet, I feel led to let her use it.
But I have absolutely no doubt that, if I do, I will not get it back.
But... I feel led to let her use it.

I'm not generally one to fight it. When I feel led to do something, I firmly believe that there's a reason - that you should always do it, if you feel led to do so. But ... what if she breaks it? What if she never returns it. These are not "concerns" but "convictions" in this case. And yet...

So I've struggled with this for a couple of months now. I considered selling it to her, but she couldn't afford to buy it. So I decided NOT to let her use it. Decided it so firmly that I actually posted it for sale on a local site, it didn't sell. Then I took it to a yard sale to sell, but it didn't sell. But I figured if I didn't own it, I would no longer have to struggle with this decision, right?

Well, The Universe obviously didn't intend for it to be sold. And I'm glad, to have sold it would have cheapened the spirit that this pump has come to symbolize, and I think it might have racked up some negative Karma points for me... I know better than to fight it!

Ever heard the phrase "Never lend money that you can't afford give away?" Basically, it means that if you lend money to anyone, don't do it until you have reconciled yourself with never getting repaid.

I have reconciled myself to never getting this pump back, and accepted that The Universe wants it to go to this particular person. If I get it back, great, and if I don't, well - *I've* done what I was supposed to do. So tomorrow after work, I'm going to stop by her house and give it to her, knowing that I'll be doing exactly what I should do with it, and that Nova would approve.

5/29: Day 4 "feeling sheepish"

5/29: Day 4 "feeling sheepish", 29 Day Giving Challenge -

Today I left a care package in the lady's room where I work... nothing big at all, a little heart shaped scented candle and a Gaurdian Angel lapel pin in a tiny little gift bag with the URL on the tag. I figured some random customer would find it and come out with it and a smile. There were, however, some things I didn't take time to consider or anticipate, such as the possibility that, at the end of my shift, it would still be there. Or the possibility that one of my co-workers would find it and ask if it was mine. DOH!

One of the girls on nightshift found it just as I was leaving and for some reason I felt like I'd been caught doing something naughty. What's up with that? I totally denied having any knowledge of said care package. So she asks me what she should do with it and I'm like, "Well, you found it, keep it!" (Not generally our policy on found items in the restaurant...) She smiled and said "I got a present today!" and I was ready to leave... and then she showed it to the other girl on duty tonight, and there was more discussion, and I pretended I knew nothing about it, again...

Then on the walk home, I'm in near-panic mode thinking that my co-workers were going to come to the URL and find out it was me... I even changed my profile picture, as if they aren't going to see "erin" on the front page and click on my profile, read my blogs, and know full well that it's me.

I guess the question is: WHY? Why was my gut reaction to deny that I am part of this movement/challenge? I've got to think through this one, because at first sight, it seems that I'm ashamed of being generous, but that's not it at all. It's hard to explain, but for some reason I get uncomfortable when people "admire" me - and I have gotten a lot of attention because of my AHA involvement and fundraising... I think I just want to remain anonymous with this whole thing (as far as people I see in my "real" life) and avoid what becomes an uncomfortable situation for me.

So: note to self: no more care packages at work. And if anyone I work with should happen to read this, please do me a favor, and don't bring it up, it'll make me blush and stutter.

As for what the rest of my family has done, I really have no idea yet, I'll update later.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 27th: Day 2 of 29

I think, for me, the hardest part of this challenge is going to be blogging about it, because I'm blogging on behalf of 6 people! Terra, bless her little heart, is thrilled to do the challenge, but being 4 somewhat limits your opportunities, especially when Mommy doesn't take you anywhere ;) Kassi is taking her for a walk around the block as we speak, hopefully, an opportunity will arise while she's out.

Plus, Scott tends to be hush-hush, so there may very well be days when I can't blog for him. I'm going to try to encourage him to actively sign up and blog his own stuff. Not sure he'll do it though, he's not really much of a blogger - more the "strong silent type" lol.

Alright, Kassi and Bren each came home with notes in their notebook about things they'd done.

Kassi: tried to befriend one of the not-so-popular girls at school by complimenting her outfit. I remember being in school and totally being the nerd, and I know how much it would have meant to me to get a compliment from one of the "in" girls, and I'm proud of Kassi for doing it. She also helped a 6th grader who fell in the hall, and according to school politics, the proper 8th grader response to that would have been laughter, accompanied by pointing... another point for Kassi. Not only is she being helpful and giving, she's willing to put herself out there in a way that could ultimately be frowned upon by other kids and 'tarnish her standing" in the popular crowd.

Bren: finished up his classroom project and helped one of the other kids who was having a hard time. He's in AIG, so sometimes his "help" can be really valuable - but that's not the point. Bren is incredibly quiet and shy, so for him to initiate this sort of interaction is hard, and rare.

Kory: has spent the better part of his day at the neighbor's house tending to the elderly gentleman. He's having some health issues and everyone in the family had to leave for one reason or another... his doctor has changed his heart medication and he gets dizzy and passes out and such, and needs someone there to do things like bring him lunch, fix his drinks, etc... Just small things really, but things he can't, for safety reasons, do for himself very well.

Erin: got called in for a "company meeting" today on my day off. You'd have to understand my job to understand how grandiose it is to call it a "company meeting" but whatever. Anyway, we had some issues to discuss and needed to bring up the fact that there were some duties that weren't getting done as often as they should. My boss is the sweetest guy ever and really hates to point fingers, but he and I have been discussing these issues for a couple of weeks now and I knew which ones were making him most uncomfortable to bring up, and to which employees. I took the heat off of him and brought one of them up myself and pointed the finger, so he wouldn't feel like "the bad guy" when it came to one of the touchiest subjects we discussed. Unintended benefit: I got free food when I left :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

5/26: day 1 (of 29)

Funny how thinking about this "29 days of giving" challenge immediately changes how you think over all. Not only am I thinking in terms of "what can I do or give today?" as well as "how can I use this as a learning experience for my children?" I also find myself realizing how often and how easily others give to me on a daily basis.

Wendy (and her family) had a Memorial Day cookout yesterday and invited us. Unfortunately, I had to work so we didn't get to go. I was pretty bummed, we are really close to her and her family, and always have fun when we spend time with them. So this morning, her mom calls and invites us to another cookout TODAY. I was confused "I thought you did that yesterday?" They did... they're doing it again because I had to work. Now what an awesome gift is that?

So, today... what are we giving?

Terra: Well let's see... Terra is (willingly and excitedly) parting with her beloved baby swing for the swingset... it's going for Wendy's girls. Terra's been really resisting the idea of giving it away, because it truly is her beloved swing... but she's too big, too old, for it and it's much easier for her to use the other regular swings anyway. I was proud of her when she volunteered to give it to them. She's my youngest, but she's taking to this challenge whole heartedly, and the look in her eyes when she got so excited about "giving it to Olivia" was yet another gift ... to me :)

Kassi & Bren: Kassi and Brendon, so far, haven't been having a good day, and so far their big idea is to treat each other (and everyone else) like crap. Obviously, we'll have to work on that - I'll let you know how that comes out.

Kory: Kory has gone to a neighbor's house to help the elderly grandfather (who is raising his grandson) dismantle and put away a tent they'd set up in the yard for his grandson's birthday party. Actually, Kory does a lot for/with that particular family.

Scott: Scott's gift was to me... the gift of laundry. He has folded 2 loads and has a load in each machine. That's a big one, he doesn't DO laundry (unless he's forgotten to take in his uniforms for laundering and I haven't noticed that he's run out lol.) Seriously, he's an awesome guy, but he seriously does not do laundry.

Erin: Now for me. Heh... Mom always goes last huh? My gift is less than tangible... I'm going to let something go that normally, I'd have to 'bring up' just to make a point to someone. My gorgeous Scotty was in a pretty rank mood yesterday, and hurt my feelings. Normally today would be another tense day because I'd have to make sure he knew that I was upset about yetserday. Yes, I know, fruitless, and causes more damage than the original act. So I'm just going to pretend it never happened, and give Scotty a free pass... the laundry proves that I don't need to "make my point" anyway!

Addendum: I decided to go to the dollar store and buy some of those little memo/note books so we could all keep up with the things we gave/did during a day. Especially for the kids, since they're at school all day... I didn't want them to lose track. Of course, rather than getting 6 memo books for $2, I spent more like $20, and ended up with a 1/2 mile walk home in 80 degree sun, with 2 big bags of stuff. Kassi offered, about 1/2 way home, to carry the bags for me. That's her gift of the day :)

Now for Bren... he's pretty nonplussed about this whole project. *rolls eyes*

Addendum 2: Kory cleaned my entire house while I was at Wendy's house. It's so nice to come home to a neat tidy home. Now instead of concentrating on the bigger project of cleaning the whole mess, I can get down to the smaller, less frequently accomplished tasks, like base boards :)

Bren finally decided on his gift for the day too. Wendy has a 6 yr old son who absolutely fell in love with a particular Hot Wheels car that Bren has. Last time he was here he really wanted it - it's some car that's just like one from a movie (too fast too furious I think) so Bren took it with us and gave it to Chance today.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

29 days is a site I found today, from a post on momscharlotte... basically their idea is to "change the world, one gift at a time.

Why? Because to see the world change, we have to do something to change the world. Plus, the best way to attract abundance into your life is to be in a perpetual state of giving and gratitude. Be an important part of the global giving movement that inspires more generosity on our planet.

Now this one is right up my alley, and I'm going to get my kids involved too :) Can't wait to get started!