Today we honor a revolutionary man; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King led such a monumental life and did so many things which significantly changed the landscape for our country and the world. Dr. King had a vision, ideals, and the eloquence to deliver them to the masses. He ignited change.
As we pay honor to the great Dr. King please take a few minutes to read what my friends are doing in 2012 to change the world.
We are all revolutionaries. We all hold the power needed to ignite change. Please don’t ever forget that.
I am changing the world, first by making the change I want in myself. I am ditching the excuses and shooting it straight. I am getting healthy and hope that the positive energy I feel is contagious, and those around be will become more positive as well. I have and will continue to donate to my charities. I volunteered for the USO; they have a backlog of volunteers which is good for them, and keeps me on hold for the moment. I hope just being positive and kind to all will catch on and the normal group/ work place BS and drama can be pushed out!
In 2011, I resolved to lose weight and “get healthy.” I hadn’t necessarily been unhappy, I just hadn’t felt satisfied or fulfilled in a while. I knew that I often felt sluggish and lacked energy, clothes were tight and I didn’t feel sexy or pretty. I was sure my weight was solely to blame. In my mind, the solution was to lose the weight. So, I did. Nearly 30 lbs. Know what? I left 2011 still not feeling terribly happy or thankful. I was irritable often (my husband can attest to that) and short-tempered. I didn’t feel very satisfied or fulfilled.
Know why? I’d gotten the goal wrong all along. I should have first promised to accept myself, regardless of the numbers on the scale. Eureka! Funny thing is that, as I write this (and only because the offer was extended – Thanks, Dacia!), I didn’t even realize it. But thinking about change and what it really means and how it should start, made me realize that there was one, fundamental change that I’ve never taken on; self-acceptance.
What does that actually mean? Loving myself, and focusing on what makes me special and unique, not on the numbers. Recognizing my strengths, and challenging myself to share them with others. Respecting my weaknesses and limitations, and knowing when to ask for help. Hopefully, in making this my focus, helping myself first, I’ll be better able to help others. And, although the “others” I speak of may initially exist in a very small corner of my world, it’s a chain reaction, right?
I believe when a lot of people do something small to make a positive impact it can make one great impact on the world. Even if it is just something small like picking up trash on the highway or donating clothes to people in need. For instance, my 16th birthday is coming up and I would like to have a small get-together and instead of people bringing presents for me, because I have more than enough, I would like people to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to a children’s hospital or our local Children’s Ranch to help those kids suffering or parent-less. Even with something as small as helping kids can make a positive impact and with everyone doing something positive, we can all eventually change the world a little piece at a time.
This year, I will affect change in the world by teaching and shaping the future- our children. As a teacher and a nanny, I strive to not only educate, but to positively influence children to be strong and capable. Too often we hear of students and children who just don’t care and are apathetic. But I want to see the next generation have a thirst for knowledge and discovery. And that starts with a teacher who cares.
So I’m changing my world and hopefully those around me by two things this year.
One is by getting fit and healthier and second by being a better person and growing in my love for God.
Getting fit and healthier is a sort of like a domino effect. I have two boys in my house, that basically look to me as their mother but also, I’m setting an example for their future lives and wives. Saying says “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” that holds true. It’s not that I was unhappy but I’m not my best person physically. Eating right in the house, if I do it, well they have no choice but to. Sorry my kitchen is not an order-up diner, it’s a ‘you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit’ kitchen. If I’m feeling better about myself, well then my work is better and my employer loves me even more than they already did. Friends start to ask what’s changed and you tell them, then they are more conscious of their lives. It’s like recycling, never-ending!
Loving my God, makes me love people more, so I’m learning to love everyone without judgment and doing so brings peace to me, my family and my friends. When you have peace with yourself, people see it, and they gravitate towards you.
Change all starts with yourself, how can you expect someone to change if you, yourself were unwilling to change? Be part of the solution not the problem; know that everything starts with the faith of a mustard seed.
2012 Goals to Change my tiny part of the world:
1. Open my daughter’s eyes on how to make a change, even a small one.
2. Recycling: My town does not recycle. It is very frustrating especially moving from Seattle where recycling is a big priority and way of life. So my daughter and I have taken the initiative to start recycling as much as possible. We are going to buy a bin and load up all of our recyclables weekly and take them to the schools that do recycle. We have also decided to write our city council about the lack of recycling options in Lawton. This is a military town and there is so much that goes to waste. We would really like to make this change this year. Kind of a fun note: I bought these awesome stamps that have cute little recycling phrases on them. So every time I mail something (thank you notes or birthday cards) everyone who touches that piece of mail will get a little recycling wisdom. LOL
3. Volunteer work: My daughter and I really want to volunteer somewhere. I just started looking into different options, so we are still narrowing it down. With Bailey only being 10 we are limited in what we can actually do. Here are our options as of right now: A. Serve lunches to the crews for Habitat for Humanity. B. Work at the food bank helping to organize.
4. Shop locally!!! My family LOVES shopping at the farmers market. So I’m going to help raise awareness for the farmers markets here in town. They only run from May to Nov, so during that time I will be shopping there and blowing up FB with posts
5. Donate! We are donating all of our clothes to the homeless shelter. Bailey goes through so many shoes and clothes and I want her to see that other people can benefit.
How will I make a change this year? Ok, yes I am overwhelmed by that question. I do however want to do something to help change someone else’s world. Last year I made several changes that put me on a healthy journey and that journey continues this year. Lots of folks need to start their healthy journey. I want to do my part in encouraging people to make positive change in their lives. For me it took a little bit of reflection and self-love to get my ball rolling. The ball became a giant snow ball when I started to enjoy my workouts. Movement can bring a ton of joy to the human body. I have been studying Nia for several months and am working my way to begin teaching classes. I want to teach Nia for lots of reasons, but the one that resonates the highest is the spreading of joy through movement. My focus will not only be at area gyms but also senior centers. I have always enjoyed spending time around people in the generations above my own and I think helping them to get moving could be a very joyous experience for everyone involved. My focus for change this year is of the healthy journey variety, but it won’t be just me or just my household, I want to reach out into my community and help others to move and enjoy their own journey.
This past year I have been most touched by the No Kids Hungry campaign. One afternoon, while wrapping Christmas gifts and stressing wondering if I should stretch my budget to include Christmas cards, I caught an episode of Ellen. You know it was one of those moments where you are caught in your own worry that seem so important at the time, then you are told a story that makes you immediately aware of how truly blessed you are. Ellen had Jeff Bridges (the spokesperson for No Child Hungry campaign) with Sherrie Gahn, principal of Whitney Elementary. Sherrie was speaking about how the tone of her school becomes very depressing on Friday afternoons. Unlike most schools where Friday holds the freedom and anticipation of the weekend for carefree children, Sherrie’s school is unfortunately filled with children who are anything but carefree. Most of the children at Whitney Elementary spend the weekend hungry and filled with worry. Their reality is that they will more than likely not eat until school again on Monday. Horrified, I thought “oh no, that can’t be right, we can’t possibly have that type of hunger right here in America.” I was sobered by the reality that we do. After crying until my eyes hurt, I logged onto the website and signed the petition which I now invite you to do. I have begun taking the steps to help make a change in these children’s lives including a monthly donation. I am also planning for a Great American Bake Sale at my girl’s school to support the cause and teach my girls the importance of thinking of others. I have some plans to make a difference in my garden as well. This season I will Plant a Row for the Hungry. “There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.” – Garden Writers Association Lastly, I will be writing about ways to cultivate an organic garden, helping to sustain your family. If perhaps gardening space is a problem, I will supply you with a list of community gardens that you can join. If gardening is not your thing, I have ideas for you such as joining a local CSA to support farmers, and of course list your local farmers markets. For those of us that are not interested in gardening outdoors, why not grow a garden in your heart? You can plant a seed of kindness, in caring for others. A seed for compassion, in thinking of those needier than us. A seed for joy, in being grateful for our blessings. A seed for integrity, in how you teach your children. Lastly a seed for humanity, in being filled with benevolence for your fellow creatures. You will then be able to watch as your inner garden flourishes, causing you to reach out and make a difference in the lives of your family and friends and in turn the world.
I believe we are all put on this earth to make a difference. We won’t always know when we make that difference, though because sometimes our tiny part in a change is integral but never seen. So if we will never know what’s the point? Why do I even bother?
I bother because others have bothered for me. I bother because the inner city kids I teach every day need someone to bother for them. And I bother because, if I don’t bother, who will?
I can’t do it all. That’s something I have struggled with for the past few years since I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. How could I be the best mom, the best teacher, the best wife, the best friend, the best daughter, the best community member? I learned it wasn’t possible to “be the best.” It was possible for me to try MY best and have that be enough. I make mistakes every day. But what I am trying to do is:
Seek balance in my life for me and for those around me.
Show love to everyone around me, whether I know them or not.
Treat people the way I want to be treated.
Spend my money and my time in a way that reflects my beliefs.
I don’t believe we all have to feel the same way or choose the same beliefs. For us, we are looking at The Fresh Air Fund (http://www.freshair.org/). You might choose something completely different. But please choose something, some way, to make a difference in someone’s life.
“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.” Danny Kaye
Let’s throw all the paint we can for ourselves and for others.
-Jen @ The RA Vegan http://theravegan.wordpress.com/
Here are my two cents for how to change the world. I can’t. The world is too big and there is just too much to do. I can my world though. It’s not too big and well, there is a lot to do, but I have help. What I will do is practice patience. I will take deep breaths and not get irritated at those who stop suddenly on the sidewalk in front of me, those who take up two seats on the bus with their backpack while other people stand around them, those who spout their opinion about everything but don’t let you say yours. I will just walk away from those people without a second thought. This will make me less stressed and more willing to help people around me. Those tourists who can’t find Paul Revere’s house even though they came from that direction or a co-worker who needs an extra set of eyes on a report during a busy time. I will make my environment one that I want to be in. If my world is a good place to be in, perhaps that will spread to others. I am not sure if that makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks for letting me scribble on your blog.
2012 is going to be a really big year for me and I’m really excited! The largest change will be my college graduation in May. I’m earning my second bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and am following a track to become a Registered Dietitian. I made the decision to leave my job in corporate finance back in 2010 and begin this path because I felt inspired to help others. This is finally coming to fruition with my upcoming graduation and application to dietetic internships, which will begin in the Fall.
I felt called to become a RD because I wanted to help, teach and guide others to a healthier lifestyle. After working in the corporate world for three years, I understood firsthand the hardships that cause people to gain weight. I’m extremely passionate about cooking and wanted to use my love of food to teach others healthier eating starts at home and does not have to be daunting.
I’m actively working towards these goals by volunteering at my local food back for a program called Cooking Matters. Cooking Matters incorporates nutrition lessons with simple and healthy recipes that are taught to participants. Over the course of a six week period, classes meet once a week and learn about nutrition, followed by the entire class, together, preparing a healthy meal. I’m so happy to be working as a nutrition instructor and teaching the basics of nutrition to community members.
In addition to my schooling and volunteering, I’m working on my own weight loss journey. I ended 2011 41 pounds lighter than my highest weight, which I’m continuing into 2012. I aspire to lose 40 pounds in 2012, putting myself in the normal BMI range.
My focus this year is on my health and happiness. I know that initially sounds selfish and I know I won’t bring world peace, but I agree with Dacia that small changes can make an impact. My health has taken a back seat to most everything else for the past 10-12 years, so I feel like this is my year to put myself first and gain control of my weight and health. I’ll be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend by ensuring that I’ll be around for a very long time. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll inspire someone to make a healthy change in their life. I want my health and happiness to be contagious.
@ CarbaholicMama, www.carbaholicmama.blogspot.com
I want to inspire people to do what they think they can’t. I never thought in a million years I’d lose 75 lbs., but I did, and because of that, I have 2 close family members who have lost weight and met their healthy weight range, as well as inspiring another close family member as well as my husband to do the same. I’m still struggling to find personal inspiration, but if I can help others, then I’m satisfied at the end of the day!
-Ashley K., @Ashleyk199
One of my goals for 2012 is to do volunteer work. I also plan to get more proactive with recycling. I am thinking of how to help my community, in some way, but my plans aren’t finalized. I see people struggle and I can’t stand standing by and doing nothing. I wish I had millions of dollars to help people all over, but I do have a little extra, plus some good ideas, to help people around me.
Change has never come easy for me, and what I love about this is that my daughters class did is on Friday. My Dream is….it was called. My husband and I have decided to donate money every month to St. Jude’s hospital. We feel that all children should have the ability to receive treatment. In addition to this I am going to continue to pay it forward, helping others who need a hand.
Kindness goes a long way, and when we are kind to ourselves it shows through in all areas of our lives, the world needs more kindness and caring from all people.
This year I am making more of an effort to buy local products. Central New York is booming with hard working folks who are producing great items. We have some of the best farmers around and I plan to buy more from them and less from “the big guys”. Not only is it a great way to support my local economy, but there is something really gratifying by eating a tomato or cucumber that has been picked right here in this town. I hope to inspire my fellow Weight Watcher members to take a trip to their local Farmers Market on the weekends and stock up on those Power Foods!! You can be healthy AND make a positive difference in the world.
This year I want to raise awareness about mental health issues such as depression. Using my blog as a platform I want to share my own experiences to let others know they are not alone. Hopefully I will be able to share some good advice too! I also want to raise money for Aware which is an Irish charity for those who have mental issues! I hope to do this by running the Women’s Mini Marathon in June.
This year I am changing the world through love. My vow is to create a better and more compassionate world for all of its inhabitants and that includes animals. I will continue to follow a vegan lifestyle because I believe it can impact how people view the treatment of animals and their use of them if by no other reason than planting those thoughts and ideas every time I engage in a conversation about veganism. I will continue volunteering at the animal sanctuary as well as look for other opportunities locally. After reading Melanie’s post above I am also excited to learn more about the No Child Hungry campaign and what I can do to show my support. The more involved I become in the community and fostering an environment I want to live in, the more involved those around me will become. Making small changes, built on love and compassion, which reflect my beliefs can only help others to do the same. If we are supposed to lead by example then I must become the example I wish to set.
Thanks for reading!