Friday, March 9, 2012

Long time, no post!

Just a quick note to everyone that I'm going to be experimenting and tweaking the site a little for the next month.  I obviously got very behind last year, so I'm considering different options for the blog.

The biggest thing I'll be doing is expanding the recipe section of the blog.  We'll see where this leads.  I may open a new blog and keep this one, or merge the two.

That's the cool thing about blogs!  They are continually changing, growing, new every day.  (unless you don't post in a long time, LOL)

Look forward to your comments and input!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Courageous The Movie Trailer

I've been following the production of this movie for the past year and I am so excited to see that it is in pre-screening!  Check out this trailer and keep your eyes out for it to hit theaters in September!

"And what, exactly, does this have to do with Love Where You Live?" you may be asking.  Well, I think most of you would agree with me that the folks who choose to go into law enforcement are one of the best examples we have in our society of a group of people who truly live out the concept of this blog on a daily basis.  They sacrifice their safety - their very lives - in order to serve and protect others.

I would have to say that is the ultimate example of AGAPE.  Wouldn't you?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome Guest Blogger Brittney Gilbert of Modest Needs

Please join me in welcoming Brittney Gilbert from Modest Needs - our current Featured Charity on Love Where You Live - as my very first guest blogger!  Check out the amazing work they do to help others.  I was personally involved with Modest Needs years ago as a volunteer when they were a start-up.  They've come a long way since then, having been featured on Dave Ramsey, Fox News, The Clinton Global Initiative, The Today Show, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Forbes, just to name a few!  You'll find out more about Brittney at the Modest Needs Blog.

Take it away, Brittney!

"Most of us know the warm, glowing, giddy feeling we get when we help a family member or friend, especially when we do so without being asked. Bringing a casserole to a grieving church member, filling up the tank after borrowing your mom's car for a quick trip to the store or genuinely complimenting a co-worker are things we do to make them, and ourselves, happy. But what about our stranger neighbors? What about those people whom you don't know who have no one to bring them food, buy them gas or offer them a kind word.

They are out there, you know. Far too many of them, in fact: People who have no one. It is one of the ways that individuals are truly poor.

Think about this: If you had no food to eat and no place to sleep, how long would you have to go without. Many of us have friends or family or even acquaintances who would be happy to make us a sandwich or offer up the couch if we ever found ourselves in desperate situations. Sadly, not everyone has someone. Some people really have no where to turn.

That's what Modest Needs is all about. Modest Needs is a non-profit foundation created for those who fall between the cracks. It's for people who make too much money for government benefits, but who make too little to have any emergency savings funds. It's for the hard-working individuals who live paycheck to paycheck, for whom a car repair or a dental bill or a blindsiding divorce would be financially devastating. It's for people who have no where else to turn.

One of the great things about Modest Needs is how much of an impact you can have on a stranger's life by never leaving your chair. Modest Needs operates exclusively online, which means that you can read requests for assistance (many from people just like you) and if a particular story moves you, you can recommend that we fund that specific grant. It's rather remarkable.

For instance, this month a mother to a young son with severe autism wrote to Modest Needs asking for help to pay for a service dog. You see, her son is a danger to himself due to his disorder. Last month he jumped from a second story balcony when his mother left for just a moment to use the restroom. He frequently has emotional outbursts that cause him harm. He is always at risk of becoming lost. Her doctor recommended that her son have a dog specially trained to keep him safe, bond with him emotionally and to locate him should he wander away. The quality of life for this mother and son would improve drastically with the help of an autism service dog, but the cost of the animal is not covered by insurance. Sadly, nothing about his disorder is covered, as it is considered a "pre-existing condition" by health insurers. Because this mother has to pay out-of-pocket for treatment for her autistic son, her budget is spread extremely thin. To obtain a service dog would cost upwards of $600, and she simply didn't have the funds to pay for what could be a life-saver for her child.

That's where Modest Needs and its donors came in. 

A couple dozen people pitched in and donated, recommending that we fund this important application. Some gave as little as $2, but in just a short amount of time, the application was fully funded, and her beloved son would be getting his special service dog. He already has her named. He decided on Blu.

You, too, can help a stranger in need; someone who has no one else to turn to. Modest Needs allows you to search requests for help through a variety of criteria. You can search by area and help someone in your community. You can search by keyword, as well. For instance, if wish to assist single mothers, you can sort requests using those search terms. And it doesn't take a lot of money to make a huge difference in someone's life.

In fact, many of those who once came to Modest Needs in search as help turned right around and became donors themselves once firmly back on their feet. It's humbling and awe-inspiring to see those with just a little giving back in such an enormous way.

This foundation allows you to Love Where You Live. You don't need to get up from the computer to stop the cycle of poverty. You need not leave your home to change a life. All it takes is the desire to help someone who might otherwise find themselves with no way out.

You can get that warm, glowing, giddy feeling of giving by extending your generosity outside your home, by never leaving it. You can do that with Modest Needs."

Monday, February 7, 2011

More ways to love where you live

Well, it looks as though I have gotten nicely behind in my posts for 365 Days To Love Where You Live.  Let's get to it!

#5 - Let someone ahead of you in line.  If you're really not in a hurry to get somewhere, this is a pretty simple act.  You would not believe how appreciative people are, especially if you've got a large cart-full of items, and they just have a few.

#6 - Thank someone.  This sounds so simplistic, but it just happened to me the other day, and it is still affecting me!  Go out of your way to thank someone for something that normally would not require a "thank you".  For example, I received an email the other day from a new friend who just wrote to thank me for sharing from my heart at a small group meeting we had.  You would not believe the smile I had for the rest of the day!  It likely took her less than 5 minutes to type, and had lasting effects way beyond those five minutes!

#7 - Smile.  I am often running errands with my children.  This can cause a bit of distress from time to time. :)  I know there has been more than one occassion where I more than likely appeared to be a very surly, crabby mother.  It's always reassuring and gets me refocused when a stranger sees what I'm going through, and smiles kindly.

#8 - Anonymously mail a grocery store gift card to someone you know is struggling financially.  Food is a basic need.  Most of us have never been in a place where we have actually had to go without food.  It's very distressing to not know where your next meal may come from.  Even someone who isn't struggling to this degree would still very much appreciate the temporary relief that a gesture like this would provide.

#9 - Give a married couple with children a restaurant gift card for a night out.  The holidays provide an occassion to do this possibly FREE!  There are many companies that sell their gift cards around the holidays with extra incentives.  For example, last year, I was able to purchase a $50 gift card to my favorite mongolian grill and received a $20 gift card for FREE!  In this example, keep the $50 gift card for yourself, since you would use it anyway, and give the $20 card away to a couple who needs a night out!  Even better, offer to babysit in order to save them the time and cost of finding someone to watch the kids!

#10 - Share a treat with a neighbor.  Do you like to bake?  Sometime when you have the extra time, make an extra batch of cookies, brownies, whatever, to share with a neighbor or friend.  Maybe you know of a single mom who is always running and is short on time and resources who would really appreciate a nice treat for her kids - and herself!  Or, bring that extra batch of deliciousness to work with you to share with your co-workers. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ways to Love Where You Live - #4

This one is for all of you cold-weather dwellers!  Shovel or snowblow/plow for a neighbor.  I was blessed to be on the receiving end of this one when we lived in a subdivision neighborhood before we moved to Madison.  It was a year with an inordinate amount of snow.  I think Green Bay received over 100 inches that winter.  It seemed as if we were shoveling every day, sometimes twice each day.  Both my husband and I had injured our backs earlier in the week trying to shovel very wet snow, and we just could not get the driveway cleared, as every time the plow would go by, we would be blocked by about 2-3 feet of hard, heavy snow.  That morning, around 5am, I heard what I thought was the plow go by in the street yet again.  Later that morning, around 8am, I glanced out my front window and noticed that my entire driveway and sidewalk had been PLOWED out.  I was in tears, as I had been perusing the phone book and internet earlier the day before to try to find someone to hire to do this for us. 

Does it seem strange to you that the kindness of a stranger (this was a neighbor we had not yet met) would mean so very much to someone?  Sometimes, I think we have become so disconnected from each other that we forget how very easy it is to touch another person's life.  Take a minute or so to consider a time when someone did something kind for you out of the blue, and hold onto that feeling as a way to continue to remember to Love Where You Live!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ways to Love Where You Live - #3

Happy Wednesday everyone, and thank you so much for taking the time to visit Love Where You Live!

Wednesdays are incredibly crazy days as far as my schedule goes, so I mostly won't have time to write a long entry.  I thought today would be a great day to continue with our 365 Ways to Love Where You Live.

#3 - Make a meal for someone in need.  It could be a neighbor, coworker, or friend who has just had a baby.  Maybe you know someone who has just lost a loved one and is too busy planning a funeral and the like to make a meal.  Or, it could be for someone who is moving, has lost their job, is studying for finals, or is just generally overwhelmed by life.  This does not have to be expensive or complicated.  One of the easiest meals I can think of is a pan of lasagna using no-boil noodles.  Soups are also very easy and can be as inexpensive or fancy as you'd like.  Casseroles are another simple idea.  You do need to find out if there are any food allergies in the family that you are making the food for.

I had planned on including a few simple recipes with today's blog, but am short on time, so I will make sure to add that at a later date.  A nice touch - if you have time - is to add a card with the recipe of the item you've provided.  I've found many times that people are very interested in being able to make the dish again for their family when time permits.

Have a wonderful day, and whether or not you have time to make a meal for someone, just remember to Love Where You Live!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why do we Love Where We Live?

This video was produced at the church I belong to, but today was the first time I had ever viewed it.  This really gets to the central question of why "Love Where You Live" is something I strive for on a daily basis.

Do you ever get frustrated with circumstances and yell at the car in front of you because they are driving too slowly and you are running late?  Do you ever feel like you are the ONLY one going through your particular struggles?  Does it ever seem like everyone else has a smooth life, but things continually go wrong for you?  Remember that everyone struggles.  Everyone has pain, disappointment, fears, dreams.  Hang in there, take it one day at a time, and remember to...