Friday, December 17, 2010

Mission Green Blessings

For this holiday season, as I travel to the bitter cold of the east coast from the warmer airs of Southern California, I am looking to take stock of my blessings. My green blessings to be exact.

All of those blessings, simple and valuable, that bring joy and fill me with gratitude.

This holiday season, take time to look around and see what blessings and joy you have in your life. From family to friends, to clean air and trees, from love to compassion, there are blessings everywhere. Happy holidays and see you for more green joy in the new year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Daring to Taking Action

The ringing in of the new year is a clear and nearby sound, so close I can feel it. I have felt this melodious warmth most of the year as I have laid the foundation and worked tirelessly toward a brand new beginning. This transition in my life has been met with the grace and blessings of mentors, newfound friends, a set of skills I never knew I possessed, and a healthy dose of humor and humility.

For fifteen years of my life I had what my sister calls a "servant's heart." I still do, but am looking to serve in a different way. I worked in community mental health as a social worker, therapist, advocate, director, supervisor, problem solver and morale booster. I loved every moment of it. I loved every crisis I helped to manage, every person who grew stronger, and sharing compassion and hope everyday. This is who I am. This is my soul and essence.

So, it was a surprise to me when I decided that I simply needed more resources to help more people. I had never thought about this concept before. I had always thought that hope would be enough, that caring would be enough. And, indeed it can be, and it was for the thousands of children and families I was honored to help. It was my clients who taught me the real lesson though. They helped me more than they will ever know. When we lost our program for adults and had to close their services within two weeks, it was their tears that left me with more wisdom. When we lost a program for children and parents based in the community that they could actually access it was their tears that left me with even more wisdom. When both of these programs, and several others during my career, closed due to budget cuts, it was the tears of gratitude from the children and parents that left me wiser. They did not blame. They only cried in thanks. They were the strong ones. They were resilient.

I began to think last year, how can we give those who are struggling in poverty even more of a chance, even more resources, even more to work with and grow from? All of these hundreds of clients were able to survive and thrive everyday in circumstances that most of us can't even fathom let alone have the strength to endure. Most of these children and families took any and every resource and opportunity they were given, no matter the length of time, and learned as much and grew as much as they could. Imagine what would happen if these and the millions of other families challenged by poverty were provided tools such as more education, community resource centers, job training, and more!

So, I started two businesses, both aimed at raising money to fund communities. The aim is to fund community and school gardens, to fund community resource centers for job training and basic needs, to fund schools to have enough teachers and resources for every child. The first business, Green Queens and Kings, focuses on the power of our children to change their planet and their community in eco-friendly ways, and the sales of an app I created called Green Quest will help toward funding community and school gardens, as well as green job training. My second business is focused on day trading, getting in there with the crowd of movers and shakers of the financial realm to claim some cash for people who need it. This second business has had its challenges, but any and all profits go toward a fund for my vision to strengthen schools and communities.

By raising enough money to fund these efforts, then I will not have to tell families that budget cuts have closed down their services. I am blessed to be a part of providing even more resources to resilient and strong children and families, one community at a time.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network blogging program, for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Oprah Winfrey NetworkThe New Oprah Winfrey Network

Mission Green Heart Thursday!

The final stretch before the end of another amazing year! Let's celebrate with our green hearts by practicing patience today.
For some this may seem quite easy and for others, such as myself, this may be a challenge. The point of patience is to get us to a quieter place, a place of calm where we are more grounded.

So, whether you practice patience while waiting in line at the toy store or grocery store, or practice patience while managing a traffic jam, or practice patience by simply going off to sit beneath a tree and meditate, try it and see how you feel. See if it fills your green heart with meaning in the middle of this holiday hustle and bustle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mission Green Heart Tuesday

Consider gifting with your green heart to schools in need!

This great website links you with any school or project you would like to donate to. Know that this holiday season you will help students to achieve greater learning with this gift!

Click here!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mission Green Heart Monday

For those of you who are familiar with the phrase, Green Heart, skip to the next paragraph. Having a green heart means having a heart of compassion, joy and generosity. This week's focus will be on ways to share that green heart with others.

For Mission Green Heart Monday, generosity is the goal. No excuses on this one because it is possible for us to be generous in thousands of different ways. Find a soup kitchen to volunteer at, old clothes to donate to the Goodwill or Salvation Army, or give the generous gift of time to an elderly neighbor living alone. Look around and see how you can be generous today!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mission Green Gift Friday!

Give the gift of clean air!

There are many ways to do so - ride your bike to work or to shop if your destination is local, or walk instead. Plant a tree to help boost the oxygen levels, or put a plant in your house for cleaner indoor air. Of course, the cessation of smoking cigarettes helps as well. Take a deep breath in and think creatively about how you can contribute to cleaner air in your part of the world - it means cleaner air for the whole world!

For those able to do so, electric cars are also here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mission Green Gift Thursday

What a week of gift giving!

Lots going on in life and it is only getting busier! So, to make it really simple, for Thursday...

give the gift of cocoa!

If you live in a cold climate, drink a nice big warm mug of cocoa! You can make it with soy milk, or cow milk, or goat's milk, with whipped cream, extra chocolate or any way you want! If you don't like cocoa or live in a warm climate, choose a delicious beverage you love, kick back, sip away and enjoy a break!

Some organic cocoa here!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mission Green Gift Wednesday

Absolutely, totally inspired by my experience today in helping to save a hawk! There are so many organizations out there that work very hard to save beautiful animals everyday, and they do so with limited resources.

Whether you choose to donate to the National Wildlife Federation or the World Wildlife Fund or a local wildlife center, try to donate a small amount of money or volunteer time to help our furry friends.

As I discovered today Wild Wings of California is fabulous!

The Bunny Bunch is excellent as well!

But, truly, find a place that speaks to your heart. Volunteer time is always needed so if you don't have the money and have a little extra time, head on over to help to feed, clean, or take care of your local animals in need.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mission Green Gift Tuesday

Tuesday's Mission Green Gift giving is super easy!

Go outside for at least 15 minutes today and breathe! It is that simple! Give your lungs and your mind a chance to take in the gift of air and space.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mission Green Gift Monday!

A green gift is really just a present that keeps us in the present. An experience that we can have with a loved one which we can look back on and smile about.

Think back to some of your fondest memories from when you were a child. Did they involve baking cookies (and eating them) with your mother? Or, sleigh riding with your brother? The consumer products we received for the holidays that led to experiences were the ones that created the best memories. The ice skates that led to a wonderful afternoon of falling, getting back up again, and laughing with your father. The Mystery Date game that resulted in hours of fun dreaming and giggling with your sister. All of these were really green gifts because they created that time of togetherness with your family.

It is not necessary to spend any money on any products though to create those shared memories. For today, think of one way you can gift green without spending any money. Perhaps you can have a sing-a-long with your children tonight, or build a new holiday story together, or go outside to make snow angels.

Whatever you choose, know that this "green" experience alone is priceless.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mission Kindness Friday!

Can you believe how fast this week went? And, how much fun it was to spread kindness all week long?! Just because Friday is the last day to complete this mission that doesn't mean you can't continue to spread kindness in any way any day. Keep it going and keep feeling what a difference it makes in yours and others lives.

For Mission Kindness Friday we are going to go out in style, green style that is. To honor and celebrate Kwanzaa, Hannukah, and Christmas, as well as all festivities this holiday season, your mission is to find one "green" gift to give to a friend or family member.

This green gift can be a simple seed, a delicious home-baked bread, or a dried flower arrangement. This green gift can be a tree planted in your friend's name or a fresh hand-made lavender sachet for your mom. Whatever you think of is great because it comes from your caring green heart!

Congratulations on embracing your green power this week to complete Mission Kindness!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mission Kindness Thursday

Show kindness without words to fulfill today's mission -

how is this possible you may ask?

Music, art, flowers, gardening, dancing, cooking......the list is endless!

Time to be creative!