"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kind Words Before Competition

The project: Help others prepare mentally and physical for competition.

Time: Negligible.

Why bother?
Many people become incredibly nervous when they are faced with the bright lights and inevitable judgment of on-stage performance. As we headed into Sweet Adelines International Region 11 competition, it was easy enough to tuck a tag, adjust makeup, provide positive words to others, friends and strangers alike, who were headed for the stage.

Worth it?
A very small deed, indeed. Still, worth it and appropriate to the day's activities.

Photo courtesy Eva Blanda under Creative Commons License, some rights reserved.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Leaving the Computer Behind

The project: Leaving computers behind.

Massive time saver.

Why bother?
It used to be that television at up too much of our time. In 1999, we cut the cable, thereby leaving ourselves with three television stations (one in Spanish). We saved a LOT of time.

Sure, we still found screen time ala computer, but at the time, we used it for e-mail, some word processing and bookkeeping. That was it. The computer was on for an hour or two on the days we used it, and we didn't even bother every day.

Things have changed. It seems we use the computer for just about everything. Addresses? check. Recipes? Sometimes, check. Bookkeeping? Check. Encyclopedic resources? Check again. Plus the Internet has expanded its services. Now it's possible to waste spend far MORE time online, reading websites and blogs, watching videos, researching, clicking through, stepping into the infinite void of the Internet.

I have fallen into the void once too often.

Rather than take the laptop with me to access the wireless provided by our accommodations, I opted to leave the thing home, and focus on the events at hand and family.

Worth it?
Absolutely. Did I miss it? Yes, because I SWEAR I'm addicted to this connection to family, friends and the infinite Internet.

I foresee future scaling back in my computer use.

Feeling Insignificant in a World of Significant Problems

The night before we headed out of town, The Husband and I sat down to watch Hotel Rwanda, a film that's been on my long list since it came out in theaters in 2005. This wasn't going to be a joy ride of a film. It would be a depressing, graphically violent reflection of a shameful time in world history. Sure, it's also about one man's contribution to more than 1,000 people's salvations during the violence, but it is, essentially, a depressing film.

It also made my Charitable Deeds project feel INCREDIBLY petty. It's not like I don't KNOW about these things. But like too many in the comfortable parts of this world, I think about it, sometimes even agonize over it, then do nothing about it - what CAN I do? REALLY!? People the world over truly suck. Not all of them, mind you. But too many people just. plain. suck.

The project? Well, it should continue, but doing something nice every day here at home doesn't amount to much. Particularly when people around here really don't need ANYthing in comparison to the people who are suffering from various forms of violence, starvation and deprivation around the world. Yes, the kids in foster homes and shelters would enjoy pajamas, but they have food, shelter, health care.

I'll continue my project, but expect to see the projects grow in scale, or at least importance and scale, as the year progresses. Opening a door here is a drop in the bucket. Providing water, mosquito nets, food, peace - a lifesaver.

Out of Contact

I'll be out of internet range for the next few days. Surely I'll find some good deeds to do along the way, but I won't be able to post them 'til Sunday night.

If you're REALLY jonesin' for more inspiration, head to one of the other deed bloggers' spots.

Do good,

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We Are Not Alone: Other Deed Doers in the Blogosphere

Isn't it strange how once an idea, thought, name finds its way into your mind, the mental radar expands? You meet a young lady named "Siobhan," a name that intrigues and is certainly unique outside of Ireland. Suddenly you're made aware of a dozen Siobhans and Siobhanas who buzz in and out of your life - maybe it's the cashier at the store, and a nurse, and a teacher, a new friend, a stranger. They're all there. They've been there. Your friends move to Papua New Guinea, previously only an island on a map on a geography exam, and suddenly PNG news is popping up in the local paper, images on the 'net, animals at the zoo. The radar has registered new matter to track.

Such is the case with Charitable Deeds. For years I've said, "There's no such thing as an original thought." Yet I continue to come up with ideas which, through my arrogance, I hope to be original to me. Take this blog, for example. I hadn't seen anything like it. I'd even LOOKED for blogs or websites like it before starting. Today, while updating my own blog link references, I came across four other blogs based on the same premise!

Here are the related blogs I found this morning. I'll turn to them for inspiration and ideas when picking up trash and opening doors just won't do the trick for me.

365 Days of Goodness

Good Deed A Day Weblog

One Good Deed Per Day

One Good Deed A Day

And variations, but close enough:

1,000 Mitzvahs

Spread Change

There are probably others. If you find them, please send them my way so I can post them here for posterity - and public use.

Spreading the Word

The project:
Help publicize some favorite local projects and programs.

45 minutes

Why bother?
If you believe in something, shouldn't you help spread the word? I think so. That's why I'm helping to spread the word, by any means available to me, about Project F.A.R. and W.I.D.E., Petfinder.com (see images in sidebar), the local animal shelters, the Pajama Program and other volunteer activities in which I've invested family time.

Worth it?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

"One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

I received this story from my aunt, but I looked it up and found this great website offering various stories from Native American peoples.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pajama Program Coordination

I know I talked about this project weeks ago, but all good things take time. :)

The project: Today I finally managed to chase down some key players in what I hope will be a big, fun, family-friendly event to gather PJs for the project.

45 minutes - lots o' phone calls. TAG!

Why bother?
I could just buy some PJs and be done with it, but that's just NO fun! I'd like to include family and friends. So why not the community?

Worth it?
Got through to some super friendly folks. I hope they're as helpful as I feel hopeful.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Side Note: Why We Bother


She smiled at a sorrowful stranger.
The smile seemed to make him feel better.
He remembered past kindness' of a friend
And wrote him a thank you letter.

The friend was so pleased with the thank you
That he left a large tip after lunch.
The waitress, surprised by the size of the tip,
Bet the whole thing on a hunch.

The next day she picked up her winnings,
And gave part to a man on the street.
The man on the street was grateful;
For two days he'd had nothing to eat.

After he finished his dinner,
He left for his small dingy room.
He didn't know at that moment
that he might be facing his doom.

On the way he picked up a shivering puppy
And took him home to get warm.
The puppy was very grateful
To be in out of the storm.

That night the house caught on fire.
The puppy barked the alarm.
He barked till he woke the whole household
And saved everybody from harm.

One of the boys that he rescued
Grew up to be President.
All this because of a simple smile
That hadn't cost a cent.

- Barbara Hauck, from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger

Project Linus at the Hospital

The project: Turning our Project Linus quilts over to Marian Medical Center pediatrics unit staff.

Time:20 minutes

Why bother?
This brought to a close our first foray into Project Linus. The local coordinator was very thoughtful in her inclusion of our girls (thereby me) in the hand off.

Worth it?
Yes. A great final chapter for this project, though we're likely to return to it at some point. E was very proud of her quilt, and happy to see where it was going to be used. I think it also helped her let go of it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Super Secret Sewing Project

The project: For a few more days, the recipient of this project remains a secret. But today I spent some time wrapping it up.

About an hour, but I was breaking up my time so I wouldn't end up with back spasms like I did LAST time I worked on this project. WHEW! THAT stunk!

Why bother?
More on this later.

Worth it?