Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fun PJs for the homeless

Last week I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a dinner focused on the concept of repairing the world, and more specifically on how we view and understand homelessness in our community. The panel of speakers was truly incredible, including an amazing speaker and author named Danny Siegal, the founder of a wonderful humanitarian aid organization called Ve'ahavta (and one of its outreach workers), and an unbelievably inspiring and strong homeless woman in her 30s. 

This amazing young woman told her story of being homeless, and how through it all, although she knew that this week she would be kicked out of the shelter she had been staying in since August, she truly believed that there was a higher being/power that was looking out for her, and that while she didn't know what she would do, she knew everything would be okay. 

While the speakers did not directly answer the question they posed of "Should you give change to a homeless person?", I couldn't help but think about it all week as I went about my life and encountered many people asking for money on the street. While I still don't have a hard and fast rule of who/when/how much I give, I can say that I am much more aware of the need in our community and our ability to help in whatever small way possible. Danny Siegal, the keynote speaker of the event, was talking about what shelters need, and one of the things he mentioned was fun pajamas for children in these shelters, and how even (and especially) homeless people deserve dignity and how little money it takes to provide dignity in the way of fun PJs. 

(Great quote from Oprah's Pinterest)

So what am I thankful for this week? I am thankful that I have a home, food, shelter, and clothes. I am thankful that I am even able to think about giving back. I am thankful for the reminder that I have so much to be thankful for, and that not everyone has much at all and yet are still able to be grateful and have faith. My challenge this week is to just think about giving. While we often have charities and causes we like to give to, it is always nice to learn about new ones and find ways that we give back. It doesn't have to be through money. It can be through time, and it can be through donations.

I am going to spend some time this weekend cleaning through my closet and donating clothes to a worthy cause. Who's with me?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Week Four: The Little Things

After a small hiatus, I am back with week 4! Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving!

 My health of course and the health of my friends and family, of course, is always top priority. It is so easy to forget when things are going well, but really we have nothing if we don't have our health. I am thankful for my health and the health of all my friends and family that have theirs. For those who are less than 100%, I am thankful for modern medicine, for doctors and researchers who are constantly searching for the next advancement, treatment, medicine,and cure. While it would be easy to dwell on all the sad news one hears on a regular basis or the unfortunate things that happen in the lives of those I care about, I choose to take this week to give thanks for the little things.

Too often we take the little things for granted, but life is really made up mostly of the little things. As my friends know, I like to appoint myself unofficial (official) photographer when we go to events and on trips. But  why should it just be on special occasions? I think we should all be the unofficial photographers of our own lives, to capture the little things, the moments that make it all worth while.

Clockwise from top left, some of the little things I am thankful for include High School 
friends and birthdays, wine festivals in the gorgeous Niagara region with friends, 
my beautiful family, and smile cookies!

One last thing to think about and little thing I am thankful for is this video that my friend Laura sent me knowing how well it fit in with this blog! 

An Experiment in Gratitude- Soul Pancake

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? What are the little things in your life?

Gratefully yours,

Jaime Ariella