Category Archives: Volunteering

Lenten: Serving others; A busy month

My goodness this has been a busy month!

Lenten

Lenten is in full swing at my Lutheran church, and although it’s the first time I’ve been a member of a church that actually recognizes it, I’m enjoying the extra fellowship immensely! Wednesday, the choir that my eight-year old daughter is part of, sang in the evening Lenten service.

Unfortuantely for us, and many of the other children and their families, we left immediately after they sang, Wednesday is also their choir practice, and so we had to rush home, get our children changed, and back to church we went. Many of us left early, because homework still needed to be completed.

John 15:12

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

Serving others: Homeless shelter

This morning I was at one of Maryland’s homeless shelters, making breakfast and fellowshipping with the other breakfast volunteer. It’s the first time I’ve met her, and I really enjoyed learning more about her, swapping stories from our lives, and conjuring up ways we can make the breakfast served at the shelter a bit more interesting. I told the other volunteer,  that I’ve wanted to branch out beyond the standard ‘bacon and eggs’ and so it was nice too learn, that occasionally others from our church have done that. I love to cook, and enjoy making all sorts of dishes, including breakfast cuisine, and so my mind is already set into motion for what I can make for next Thursday’s breakfast. Our church volunteers at the shelter twice monthly.

Food pantry and Global Missions Sunday

Tomorrow my daughter and I will be volunteering at our church’s food pantry. My daughter really enjoys helping with this ministry, and I look forward to interacting with the other volunteers, and those who receive the generous food donations from the kind-hearted people in our church.

I’ll be sure to take photos of the food, but will only take pictures of the people that receive the food — if they’re allow me to take their photos.

Lent: Keeping it simple; soup, salad, and bread

Lenten meals

This year, Lenten began on February 22, 2012 and ends on April 7, 2012.

Our Lutheran church is offering two services (morning and evening) to accommodate church members schedules. Before the service a simple meal of soup, salad, and bread were served. The church members provided the food, and the New members class (from February) served it.

The highlight of the dinner, was a delicious potato chowder soup. I was able to get some of it, since a few of us that served the food wisely ate before we served to the church members. That was smart idea on our part, since that soup didn’t last long. The chowder was made by one of the church’s schools lunch ladies.

You know I’m going to be begging her for that recipe! There were numerous other soups served; bean and ham, spicy chicken, crab soup, chicken and noodle, etc., There were a few others that I cannot remember. I was served the potato chowder and the bean and ham.

Silly me, I forgot to take pictures of the meal preparation — along with serving the food, but I’ll rectify that next time.

Service immediately followed the dinner. My daughter read the scripture reading.

II Timothy 3: 16 -17

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

What is Lenten?

Lenten refers to Lent, the meals served during this time are usually meager. Lenten starts 40 days before prior to Easter. The Lutheran church I’m attending now is the first one that openly recognized this ‘spiritual holiday’ so although acquainted with the practice actively participating in the tradition is new to myself.

I’ve been enjoying researching the lenten tradition, as well as learning even more about Lutherans. Actually, I did a ton of research before joining this church since it was important to me, to find a church that preached a good message, and not something ‘flowery’ to make people feel good.

For myself, researching Christianity has always fascinated me, and so I’m enjoying the time I’ve been spending learning even more about Lutheran history.

Photo Source: Pilgrim Place

February; the month has flown by….

Is it almost March already? What happened to February? It seems as if I blinked and the entire month just flew by.

At times, I find it challenging to maintain this site. That happens, when my life gets busy. I’ll think about writing something, and when it next pops into my mind a few days (or even weeks) has slipped away.

Overextended

I won’t overextend myself

Over the years I’ve learned not to take on more than I can handle. It applies to many aspects of my life; work, volunteering, social engagements, etc., It wasn’t an easy lesson to learn, since it’s my nature to always want to assist in any way that I can. Sure, I accomplished the assignments, but it didn’t leave a lot of time for myself. Having my daughter changed that, since she trumps everything.

Helping others is something I do with my ‘down time’. It’s one of the ways I relax. It feels great helping others.  Assisting someone who desperately needs help is the only reward that I need to receive. It feels great.

BoardMeeting

New position; Board Member

Earlier this month, I accepted a board member position. It’s a two year position, and It doesn’t take effect until July 2012, however I attended my first meeting yesterday. I was introduced, and got a chance to get a first hand view of the people I’ll be interacting with. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. What’s even better? I wasn’t a bored member at that meeting. Ok, that was corny….

 

Compassion

Volunteering; Food Pantry

This past Saturday, my daughter and I visited one of the numerous ministries available at our Lutheran Church. Our church has a food pantry. Thursdays and Saturdays, the food pantry is open, and those in need are able to stop by and receive groceries. I had a great time interacting with the church members, who serve as volunteers. I also had a great time, talking with those who came to receive food. A few of them expressed interest in our church, and mentioned they would be interested in attending our church service. I was able to give them literature.

Attending our church is not a requirement to receive food, and we don’t ‘actively sell’ the church when we’re talk with those within the surrounding communities  that utilize some of our programs. Guess what? We don’t need to do that, the way our members treats everyone speak volumes. Treat others how you want to be treated, simple but effective. Regardless of your race, socioeconomic background, or past… you are made to feel welcome.

Crochet

I’m still managing to fit crochet into my schedule, currently I’m crocheting bear number three for the Mother Bear Project. I’ll have to post pictures soon.

Photo Source: Ron Dotson: Western Art; Overextended

Homeless shelter: Not green eggs and ham… bacon and eggs

Scott Pilgrim

This morning, when I told a friend that I made bacon and eggs for breakfast they were stunned.

Friend: Veggie bacon and eggs right?

Me: Nope, it was the real deal

Friend: So when did you stop being vegan? You’ve been vegan for like… forever!!!!

Me: Oh I still am!

Friend: Uhm…. ????

Because of their expression of what the heck is she going on about, I let them in on a secret. The bacon and eggs were made for the homeless shelter where I volunteer. No, I wasn’t scarfing it down myself.

Twice monthly, my Lutheran church prepares meals for the guests. Today, we had thirty guests. This homeless shelter is located in the suburbs, and so you”ll the majority of the guests is Caucasian that’s a bit different from I’m used to when I volunteer in the city.

I really enjoy doing volunteer work in homeless shelters. I imagine some might be surprised at how many are like you or me. It is even more common in this present economy.

No show

There was another lady who was supposed to help… unfortunately, she was a no-show. That was uhm… interesting especially since it was my first time at the location. I had no idea where things were located. However an angel appeared in the form of the man that had volunteered to stay over as the overnight helper. He hung back and assisted me when he realized I didn’t have any assistance. How sweet was that?

 

He told me up front he didn’t know how much help he’d be since he wasn’t a cook, I responded that any help he could give was appreciated. He did well, and the time flew by while we prepared a breakfast for 30 guests.

Service with a smile

The meal was served, and we had quite a few that came back for seconds (and in some cases thirds). Several thanked me for the meal, and told me it was excellent. I chatted with several guests while serving the food. I really enjoy chatting with them, and it’s a great feeling to help others when you can.

 

Leftovers from last evenings meal, was already packed in lunch bags, and given to the guests. The guests can’t stay there during the day, but thankfully since they receive a packed lunch they have a meal, and they can come back for dinner. Admittedly, I was a bit concerned at how they got around. It’s not like the homeless shelters I’ve volunteered at in the city, and so if they don’t have transportation, bus routes are sporadic.

This homeless shelter is small. I’ll definitely be coming back there to cook for the guests. Being there today, gave me ideas of other ways I can assist. I’ll be brining vegetables during harvest time, so the guests can receive the fresh produce from my garden. I’m also going to prepare a few treats to accompany the meals.

Asfaw Crown Wrap 1

I’m totally loving this loc wrap! I stumbled upon this beautiful loc wrap (and lady) on the Rebel with a Cause Facebook page. Once I learn a few more crochet stitches, I’ll definitely make something like this.

Since I have long hair, I had to tie my locs back. I figured if they had hairnets, it wouldn’t be large enougn to tuck all my locs into. Last evening, I’d completed a crocheted Loc wrap. Although not as fancy as the one above, I love it! More importantly, it serves its purpose — keeping my locs under wraps. My newly crocheted design turned my already fabulous locs a bit trendy with the added accessory.

Photo Source: AshlyNTess, Rebel with a Cause

A new year, more volunteering opportunities: Charity; 12 for 12 in 2012

I’m not one to make resolutions for the new year. I have various short and long-term goals; in this case some of my newer goals just happened to coincide with 2012. The reason is simple, my crochet skills have improved to the point where I can now make items for others, and so some of the crochet projects I’ve been itching to become involved with are now a reality.

You might be wondering what 12 for 12 in 2012 is about. Well, as the title states it’s for charity. Many thanks to Kathryn, crochet blogger, the talented author at Crochet Concupiscence for coming up with this fabulous idea.

As some of my readers already know, I already craft for charity; Machine sewn quilts created by my local church quilting group are donated to Lutheran World Relief. I also volunteer at a local homeless shelter,  monthly. I prepare morning breakfast for our guests. They are fed between 5:30 and 7:00 each day.

 

Namibia header

 

The Mother Bear Project

 

Back in December 2011, I talked about The Mother Bear Project. The Mother Bear Project is a fabulous organization that donates hand crocheted and knitted bears to children in other countries. From their site…

The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear. 

The simple gift of a hand-knit bear with a tag signed by the knitter has touched children with the message that they are unconditionally loved.

FADROWSKI and shon

 

 

Helping Kids at Johns Hopkins

I recently discovered this group. The group founder lost her daughter, Gabrielle, in June 2008. I can’t even imagine outliving my daughter. Six times per year, there are various projects that are listed. for January/February the project is a blanket. This upcoming project gives me the perfect excuse to purchase yarn, and take time to create an adorable afghan for some deserving child in the Pediatric intensive Care Unit.

 

Volunteer 1 3 12

Volunteering: How can I help?

The balls in your court, think about ways you can help others. It doesn’t have to be a craft, perhaps you can give your time, donate material, or money to assist a non-profit organization.

Having worked in the non-profit sector, I can tell you that every single bit helps. There are so many places looking for assistance, but not as many people are willing to turn their intentions into actions. If possible, find time to help those in need. If you’re in the United States and are unsure of what opportunities are in your area, check out Volunteer Match. If you are in another country (or like to assist in other countries) check out the Global Volunteer Network.

If you’d like to participate in Kathryrn’s charity crochet project. Write a post about it, and link back to her site.

Photo Source

Busy fingers and the Mother Bear Project

Yarn

Besides spending time with my daughter… crafts, volunteering, fitness, gardening, and writing are the things I enjoy most.

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon an amazing opportunity, called The Mother Bear Project. I learned about it through a local yarn shop, Lovely Yarns.

The Mother Bear Project is a grass-roots, non-profit group dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children, primarily those affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of hand-knit and crocheted bears.  To date, 27,300 bears have been sent to South Africa, Zambia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi, Botswana, Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia and other countries as we find out more about children in need.

What a great cause, right? I did have a slight problem…I haven’t crocheted in years. Last week I told one of the ladies from my quilting group that I wanted to pick up crochet again. She told me to bring my hook and yarn the following Monday.

Naturally I took her up on that offer. Do you think I’m going to pass up on that opportunity? Mrs. G was thorough! I really appreciated that she took her time to teach me some crochet stitches. Thanks to YouTube, I was able to brush up on the basic and the more complicated stitches that she showed me.

Being that it’s been a while since I’ve picked up my hooks, I was repeatedly pulling out my stitches before I finally hit the sweet spot (well at least for the basic stitches I’m doing) and I wasn’t making anymore mistakes. What a great feeling! I won’t be making a bear right away, I want the first bear I make to be really nice, and so the next few months I’ll devote to making a variety of items before I make a bear for the project.

I learned about The Mother Bear Project (indirectly) through Julia, of Aberrant Crochet. Julia makes gorgeous crochet, so be sure to take a peek at her virtual home. Julia was kind enough to reply to my comment in her Mommy Can’t Right Now, She’s Texting. In her comment, Julia was kind enough to share a few sites that would be beneficial to a noob crocheter like myself.

The website, Ravelry, is an online knitting and crocheting community. It’s chock full of information, through my virtual puttering around on that website, I discovered there were quite a few local yarn stores in my area! Who knew? I visited a few of the websites, and that’s how I eventually learned about the Mother Bear Project.

Crocheted Projects

Let’s see… I’ve already made a shocking pink cape for Draculaura, one of my daughter’s Monster High dolls. Currently I’m working on a cute cream colored mini-skirt for Clawdeen — another one of the Monster High dolls.

My daughter is a true fashionista, and so for Christmas (or perhaps a little after) I’m making her a scarf with beads woven in the fiber. It’s safe too say that I’m enjoying my crochet time. 😉

 

Volunteering: People will judge you by your actions…

Quilters June2011 1

Say hello to the quilting group where I’m the newest member.

The above picture was taken last year. I wasn’t a member then. However, it includes some of the ladies that are part of the quilting group. We meet each Monday for three hours. It’s a great time of fellowship, and it gives me a chance to do something crafty… sewing. I learned how to sew when I was seven.

“We judge ourselves by our intentions, but others judge us by our actions.”

Many of us have the best intentions when it comes to serving others, but how many of us follow through? If we don’t watch out, we can easily forget the promises we’ve made.

Since my parents have always been active in helping others (even when the early years when they were poor themselves) I try to make an effort and give back to those who might not be as fortunate as myself.

Helping others, is something I strongly believe in, and it’s something I put into action since I was a child. My parents are great role models. The days when I struggled financially. I still helped others. I look back on my early twenties quite fondly. You should see some of the recipes I came up with then — however I survived.

Quilt Pinning 2 11 21

In todays quilting group, I managed to take a few photos. The majority of our time together is spent working, but we do manage to squeeze in conversation too. Because of the groups friendly nature, it gives everyone a chance to get to know one another — and to form genuine friendships too.

Quilt Pinning 1 11 21

As the newest of this group, there are times when I’m in the spotlight. It’s natural, they want to learn about me and so I’ve been happily weaving in bits of my daughter and my life into the conversation. Because of their friendliness, it didn’t take long for me to feel like one of the group, and so I look forward to my Monday quilting sessions.

Next Monday, one of the ladies is going to help me with my crochet. In the top photo, do you see the tall lady to your right with the sunglasses? Yep, she’s the one that will be helping me. She’s German, and I enjoy chatting with her. She’s told me a few stories of her country.

What’s brought these wonderful ladies together? A common desire to help those less fortunate. I’d say its even more fulfilling, because of the friendships that have been made. They’ve effectively turned their belief, of helping others, into action.