Not bad for a fat girl


Daily Passion Prompt 23: Volunteer, Reporting for Duty

Today’s Prompt:


When I was in college I volunteered as a Big Sister through my university. It wasn’t the best run program, but it was better than nothing. I didn’t my a “little sister” of my own, and as a result I didn’t really have the buy in that is usually associated with volunteer opportunities. Here’s how it worked. On Friday afternoons (Friday? Really? College students, hello… anyone ever hear of happy hour?) a group of us would pile onto a bus for the ride to the projects. We were dropped off in a gym teeming with kids. They were great, those kids. They were thrilled that we came and played with them every week. There were organized games, and disorganized games and time to visit and hang out. It was fun, but rarely would a “big” and “little” form a bond under this system. I wanted something more.

3 girls BLater, after I relocated to the southwest, I had time on my hands and needed a productive outlet. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do exactly, but I knew I wanted to work with kids in an ongoing capacity. I contacted a volunteer clearinghouse, and they had the perfect fit. I became a brownie troop leader for a group of kids living in poverty. Most of them were bilingual, and all of them were adorable. And guess when we met? Yes, after school on Fridays. Those little girls were thrilled with every activity we did, loved every song we sang, and devoured every snack we shared. They marched in a parade, sold cookies outside a bank, and dressed up for a fancy tea party. I loved those little girls with their chocolate eyes and names that became familiar to my gringa tongue.

large-09012lThose brownie days were a long time ago, but they are burned into my mind. At the time is cost $6 to join the brownies. Many of the girls didn’t have it. We had a wonderful sponsor who paid their registrations, bought them uniforms, registered them in that parade, and took them to that tea party. She bought them girl scout handbooks, and supplied snacks every week. She was a kindhearted woman who wanted to give something back to the universe. I learned from her.

The causes I give my time and talents to benefit children. Children need to be protected, cherished, and challenged. This I believe, and I put my proverbial money where my mouth is to prove it.


Daily Prompt: Clean House

Is there “junk” in your life? What kind? How do you get rid of it?

Well of course there’s junk in my life. Everyone has it, in one form or another, and I’m no exception. In fact, I have plenty of junk. I have junk in my head, on my hips, in my home and in my heart. Do I need or even want all that junk? No I do not, yet I hang onto it, so there have to be some reasons.randomthoughts1-248x300

Let’s start with the head. It’s full of all sorts of nonsense, making it difficult for important information to find a comfortable home. I can recite random factoids and song lyrics from 1975, but can I remember my son’s orthodontist appointment or where I put those photos? Often times, the answer is no. Since I know of no way to reorganize my brain, I’m trying to rely on methods outside my memory to help keep me organized. If only my brain worked more like a computer, where I could set up folders for information to access it more easily, and delete that which is no longer relevant. Of course that assumes I would actually do those things, but in reality my computer desktop is full of junk too. At least my computer works more efficiently than my brain, and I’m able to search it quickly, too.

Now on to the body junk, and boy is there lots of it. There is plenty of extra fat, some extra cholesterol, and an assortment of bonus skin cells here and there. I paint a lovely picture, I know. Getting rid of all that body junk isn’t easy. The skin, well, that has to be removed by a doctor, and frankly it hurts, so some of it I just live with (we’re talking little moles and skin tags, people, not horrific lesions). The cholesterol is a little easier to deal with. For a while it involved taking a tiny pill, but exercise has made those pills unnecessary. Yay! In fact exercise, along with a healthy diet, is the way I’m going to keep getting rid of the fat. I totally get it, burn more calories than you take in. Simple. But oh, so difficult! I’m trying, though.

That leads us perfectly into the junk of the heart. This is the emotional junk that we carry around. Here lie the messages that you maybe aren’t quite good enough. Maybe you don’t deserve love. Perhaps you’ll never reach your goals. Self doubt and unhappiness burrow into hidden corners of the heart and take up residence. They have to be exposed and banished. They are like a cancer. They have to be forcibly removed, but often traces of them are left behind. These need to be eradicated with consistent long term positive messages and large doses of love. Even so, they can creep back in. The health of the heart has to be monitored closely and intervention must take place quickly in order to avoid a takeover by those doubts and negative emotions. Fortunately I have a team on my side that loves me, making it much easier to wipe out those bits of emotional junk that do manage to creep back in.donation-box-cropped

Finally, there’s the actual physical junk that invades my living and working spaces. There’s clean and dirty laundry, piles of mail- both opened and unopened, books, magazine, dishes, quilting materials, electronics, toiletries, cleaning supplies, holiday decorations, office supplies, and tons of other junk. Now in all fairness, not much of it is actual “junk” as defined by me. To me “junk” is stuff that is useless or has no value. HOWEVER, too much stuff is too much stuff. As the very wise Flylady says, “you can’t organize clutter.” I know this, and yet clutter tends to accumulate anyway. That’s why so many of my 47 for 47 challenge items have to do with purging, streamlining, and consolidating items. As I sit here looking at my computer table alone, I know I have a big job ahead of me. Again, from the Flylady, “baby steps.” I set a timer and go through one area, tossing what doesn’t belong and putting away items that are out of place. I do this periodically, and it always feels great when I do. I give away items that are in good condition but no longer work for me and my household, and it always feel like a sigh of relief when I discover cleared off surfaces and a bit more breathing room. Now I’m inspired to do some fall cleaning. Look out junk, you’re about to go!


Daily Prompt: Ebb and Flow

Our blogs morph over time, as interests shift and life happens. Write a post for your blog — but three years in the future. *

It’s hard to believe that senior year has begun for my son. Things were a little rocky at times earlier in his high school career, but he managed to get it together. He’s put himself in a great position as far as college choices go, and I couldn’t be prouder. We have some campus visits lined up, and he has some ideas about where he might want to go, but it’s all still up in the air. It’s an exciting time for him, but for me it’s definitely a mixed blessing.

headless teen with backpackOf course I want him to move on to the next stage of his life, but I worry that he won’t be ready. Will he be mature and independent enough to manage on his own? Will he use his time wisely? Will he surround himself with positive people making good choices? Did I, at that age? I know he’s very different than I am in a lot of ways, but we have plenty of similarities too. Those are what worry me. I give up too easily on things that matter and hang on too long to things that don’t. I’ve seen this trait in him, especially the giving up.

He and I can both succumb to “all or nothing” thinking, which isn’t a good thing. You can usually be a little wrong, a little off, or a little late and still not have disaster befall you. In college I would skip a lecture rather than walk in two minutes late. What a waste. Has he learned these lessons yet? Have I had enough time to teach him? Or will he have to learn them on his own, as I did?

This feels like my last shot at being his mom. Once he leaves for college everything will change. Change is good, but change is difficult. He and I have been through a lot together, and I don’t feel quite ready to let him go. Fortunately I don’t have to, at least not quite yet.

*Clearly I am in denial, because after writing this I realized that he will be a senior in TWO years, not three. I am NOT ready.