Archive for January, 2011

Playing with flash

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Red and Purple Bouncing Balls 1

Being grateful and giving back in the new year

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

New Years Eve for Don and I has turned into a quiet evening at home these days.  We’ve had those years of parties and noise, and find a quite evening at home is more our speed (no old fart jokes please).  This year was no different with the exception that Kris joined us.  We found real polish sausage shipped in from Chicago(yes, there are more people of Polish descent living in Chicago than in Warsaw, Poland) and I made my Grandma David’s sauerkraut recipe.  We added homemade pierogi that we’d made on Christmas Eve.  The meal became a true ethnic delight!  We poured glasses of our favorite bubbly, Frank Family Vineyards Rouge, and toasted the New Year.

There is an Eastern European tradition to eat pork and sauerkraut for good luck in the new year and through the course of our conversation about this tradition, something wonderful happened.  We moved from the good luck we wanted for ourselves in the new year to the things  we were grateful for in the past year; the good things that had happened; difficult things we learned from; the things we were glad were just over.

This  lead me to the realization that I needed once again to find a place to give back for all the bounty I have.

I’d finished a volunteer project for Taproot earlier this year, leading a project that installed a donor database system for Public Architecture.  I worked with some wonderful people; but the project was over and I was feeling at loose ends….I needed something else.  I started thinking back on all the volunteer work I’ve done in the past; was there a clue there to point me to my next opportunity.

Then it hit me; Ronald McDonald House (RMH).   They “provide“home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. The Houses are built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on healing their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest.”

I’d volunteered for years in Rochester at the RMH, supplying meals to the families staying there.  Why not do it here?  I am grateful that I work for myself, that my schedule is flexible, that I have a gift in the kitchen, and most of all, I am grateful that when Kris was born 11 weeks early, that he was so well cared for at Strong Childrens Hospital and has had the opportunity to grow into a wonderful man……

Then, the excuses started; the RMH is in San Francisco, it’s a long commute, I’ll have to schlep all the stuff alone, blah, blah, blah.  It was going to be too easy not to do it; it was going to be too easy to forget how grateful I am for my life; it was going to be too easy to not give myself the gift of service and how it makes me feel when I give back.  So before I lost momentum, I called the RMH in SF, filled out the volunteer form, and am  on the schedule for next week.

My New Year’s resolution  is that I won’t let the excuses keep me from acknowledging my gratitude.  In the day to day pulse and speed of my life, I can lose sight of it.  Volunteering and giving back helps me honor all that I am grateful for.