Recent Posts

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Make A Difference

Hello my friends~ I miss you so all very much. A big hug to all of you who have sent well wishes and prayers.
I am interrupting my bloggy sabbatical to speak about something very close to my heart. I am praying it does not come across as me getting up on a contraption such as this:

Many of you know that I grew up in foster care. I am here today because of God's grace, my own will and determination and because people cared. People I knew well, and strangers who came into my life fleetingly and gave their time~ energy~ and I am sure on occasion, ~money so that I could become who I am today.

Years ago I often wondered "How do I ever begin to pay back everything that has been given to me?"

Situations presented themselves. Such as when the local chapter of the NOCC (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition) asked for design volunteers to create healing havens for women currently battling or recovering from ovarian cancer. In donating my time I encountered several fabulous women who blessed me more than I could ever begin to bless them.

I know that some people avoid volunteering because they think it is a bore or that it involves tremendous sweat.
This is a misconception. You can shape volunteering to whatever suits your life. It is absolutely ok to give of your time doing something that you love or believe in. To be honest I am not one for car washes, selling cookie dough, or hocking magazines to raise money.

Here is another example of doing what I love while volunteering: Our church recently bought a warehouse space that used to house a gymnasium. They needed to transform the room below into a sanctuary. They asked for my help.

Gulp. Um, I don't have ANY experience in the area of churches. This was totally out of my comfort zone completely. While I have done work in some commercial spaces, I specialize in residential design. But I didn't say "No." But you better believe I prayed. Almost immediately I was given this thought: SALVAGE.
The dictionary's definition of salvage is:
  1. To save from loss or destruction.
  2. To save discarded or damaged material for further use.

Wow. Kind of like what God does for us.

I shakily presented this concept to my minister with photos of old stained glass windows, relics from churches, pipe organs, etc.

He loved it. So now I am on the hunt for salvage in which to decorate the walls of our church. Did I mention we have no money? That's ok. I am voluteering to find cheap (read FREE) salvage. I believe it will work out.

Don't be afraid of going outside of your comfort level, you will be blessed immeasurably.

I can remember as a child that art was my favorite subject. I want my children to have the same opportunities as I did to love art. But sadly, there is not funding.

A wise teacher of mine once said: You can complain about anything you want to. I will listen. But the condition is that you must follow up with a possible solution that could correct the situation.

So while I can complain about the lack of art in my child's school, the solution is to volunteer my time giving art lessons. Now let me stop right here and say that I don't have an art degree. I have never even taken one art class in all my years of college. I do not let these facts stop me.

Once a month I go into my son's class and give an art lesson. I wish it could be more.
Which brings me to the TIME issue.

The majority of people don't volunteer because they don't have the time.

Time is tough. But time is relative. May I use my own life as an example?

Currently I own my own business, which is steady. I am taking 3 classes this semester that are drowning me in home work. I don't have a nanny, a cook, a cleaning service, a dog walker or a gardener. I wear those hats. It is exhausting trying to be a good wife, mother, friend and relative. I also on accasion help Mr. Decor out with his 9 wolf cub scouts.
Right now I am so busy that I feel like I am about to become Linda Blair in the Exorcist.

But one thing I have learned is that something can wait. It might be the dishes, the laundry, the mani~pedi or even GASP! Blogging.
Because volunteerism often has situations such as children who can't wait. I know that kids need to experience and develop a love for art.

I think perhaps that I am making a difference. It may be to an entire church, it may be to a woman battling cancer or it may be just one small child.

This week is Make A Difference / I Participate week. One person CAN change the world. Let it be you.

To sweeten the deal here is the link to a free pass offered by Disney Theme Parks.


Linda said...

I think this is very commendable of you, Laura. ♥ My volunteering has been ultimately devoted to school activities over the years. That's what works for me and I know my limits - I get easily overwhelmed.

I LOVE when people give of their time of their own free will and giving spirit such as you, but I'll never support government- enforcement of volunteerism. To me, it should always be a free choice. :) ♥

Shelia said...

Oh, Dear Laura! Bless your heart! What an inspiration you are and the fact you're using all your talents God has given you. I know everything will turn out great with the space for the church. I'm so amazed at your strength
You are a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Lou Cinda said...

What a wonderful inspiration you are in every aspect! I applaud you and admire you. You have overcome obstacles in your life that many could not, and you do make a difference!!! To so many that you do not even realize!

You have inspired me to branch out and do more!!

Thank you,

Lou Cinda

Terri and Bob said...

We participate in Make a Difference Day at school. It is a wonderful thing.

Miss you and hope all is well.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Good for you for volunteering and sharing your talents. You are blessing so many and they will remember it forever. Hugs, Marty

Blondie's Journal said...

I am near tears, Laura. This is a wonderfully put together post and one would have to be numb not to take something away from it.

I have always admired you although until now, I had no idea the amount of volunteering and 'giving back' you do. It has, however, always come through what a thoughtful, generous and caring individual you are.

I wish you luck in all your endeavors and hope you keep us posted on the church. Your ideas are amazing and I'll bet it didn't take much to sell your ideas... And you have inspired me take have a look at some of the oranizations here in my city. Thank you, sweet lady!


ceekay said...

You have been busy! I hope you are taking the time though to "smell the roses"! or take a hot answer to almost everything!

Lisa Anne said...

Such a wonderful and refreshing post. I'd love to find somewhere to volunteer. I've always wanted to be a big sister to someone, but have not had the chance to look into it.

Jennifer said...

For free and salvage stuff check That is a local site for our area and sometimes you can find stuff on there. Plus you can put an ad out there for what you want. You may have to drive to get it, but you may actually find something awesome.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

A beautiful aspiring post!When my daughter was in third grade, I also went into her class numerous times to teach them a craft. I think I got as much out of it as they did. You rock, Laura!

LiLi M. said...

Great post, bravo! One person can make that difference, one person can start a small wave and we all can move an ocean. Thanks so much for positive thoughts and inspiration!

Karina said...

Great post! I admire you for being bold and sharing about your volunteering. I agree everyone can make a difference and we should all try to find ways to be of service in any way and in any amount that we can. Also, as we help out in school, church, community or wherever, our children have the opportunity to see us 'walk' our beliefs and not just talk about them. I want my children to know that they are a part of the world, and that they have a responsibility to help, care, and do their part in it. God bless all those leaders, coaches, helpers and more. This world is so much better for all they do. (I'll get off of my soap box now...)
by the way, your blog is so charming!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura-
Today at Bible Study we had a mother who lost her daughter to overian cancer at age 22. The mother told her daughters story -- her daughter always could not wait til her 23rd birthday -- always talked about her 23rd birthday and she spent it in heaven. Just wanted to share as I found it strange that this would be shared about this mother volunteering at a Womens shelter after taking care of her daughter through overian cancer! God Bless you!

Volunteering abroad said...

Nice post Laura! You inspired me a lot to pursue more my perspective about volunteering and servicing people. Thanks to you.

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Thank you for this post...thank you!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Wonderful post!! I've actually been off the blog -- a place I volunteer just had their big fundraiser and I'm "raffle girl" so I've been caught up in this annual project. I don't have as much time as I would like to volunteer at the home in person (it's a home for infants in Jersey City NJ called Hudson Cradle)...but I do have time to write and mail letters asking for raffle gifts. You're right...we can all find a way to make the time. And it is so important for those of us that can -- and I truly believe anyone can -- do.