Cooking Matters

Today my act will be part of a small ongoing volunteer position with a non-profit organization that I’m really excited to share and raise awareness about. Part of 100acts is about exploring as many different local volunteer opportunities as possible because at least for me, until doing some conscious and engaging research, I never realized most of these easy but beneficial positions existed. I hope to share my experience so others may learn about them and spread the word and/or join me in giving back.

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What We Have in Common

Sometimes the soul purpose of an act is just to make someone smile. This is one of them.

In case you can’t read my barely legible handwriting, the quote reads:

“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.”
– H. Jackson Brown Jr.

It is going to rain later today. That is the beauty of chalk. It is a temporary memory; a paused moment on the sidewalk (or like an older version of snapchat).

Like most things, it is here for a moment in time and then with the rain it is washed away leaving only small, colorful traces behind.

Please Give Blood

I’m going tell you the truth right off the bat: I did not donate blood today. But I am asking you to take my place instead. Before you silently accuse me of being a hypocrite, please let me explain.

I have a needle phobia. I cringe when I pass a blood donation bus which is followed up by waves of guilt and shame because I know how vital/easy/life-saving/not painful it is to give blood. I can’t even being to imagine what the person who receives my blood is going through. I could possibly save a life and all I have to do is fill a bag of blood while laying on my back for 10 minutes and then stuff my face with free cookies. So I decided to finally grow up and stop crying over spilt milk…err blood.

A few weeks ago when I started planning out 100acts I made an appointment with the blood bus for May 6th at 11:00AM. Today I woke up feeling extremely grateful for the gallons of blood swirling inside my body and ready to give some to anyone who will take it. I walked up to the bus with my eyes wide and a big nervous smile on my face ready to do this! TAKE ALL THE BLOOD.

To my frustration, The CDC has deferral policies on people who have traveled to certain cities around the world due to possibly being exposed to diseases such as malaria. Puerto Vallarta? Deferred. Non-major cities in Thailand? Double deferred. I am not allowed to donate blood for a year due to possible dormant malaria that could be in my system.

I understand that these restrictions are necessary, but I am seriously bummed out. Not only is it crucial to donate blood, I personally felt as though I would be overcoming a selfish obstacle that stood in the way of participating in something bigger than me; an act that is entirely for someone else.

So I ask whoever is reading this to first check blood donor eligibility here on the Red Cross website, and then please take my place to donate blood. If you would like to make an appointment click here otherwise they do take walk-ins. It’s a fast and simple process that makes a big impact. Next May I’ll be in the donor chair next to you, but for now I’m signing up as a volunteer to help the donors with what else: Stuffing their face with free recovery cookies.

For more information on why to donate blood, click here.

Related Reading:

Puget Sound Blood Center website 

AABB – Why You Should Donate Blood 

Love in Circulation

We’ve all done it – drive or walk past a homeless person on the street ignoring them completely. No eye contact, no words spoken, as if they were invisible. I’m guilty of this and I’m pretty ashamed. Why is it so hard to acknowledge a person struggling? The more we put up that barrier between “us” and “them” the more we start believing that there is some sort of real separation between us. Would you completely ignore a coworker on the street? Your mother? A person asking for directions?

The truth is we are all human beings; we all feel and hurt and struggle. We are all connected. For this act I decided to stop ignoring other people. To start understanding that we aren’t different; that I could have easily been in their position. I will not ignore anyone else on the street anymore. To even acknowledge with a “no, sorry” or a smile makes a significant difference. I urge you to take part in this as well!

I made homemade kits with pictures of trees I drew representing the many different lifelines that make up this world. Each line represents some connection we have with each other, nature, animals, etc. On the back I acknowledged the person I drew it for and let them know we care about them. We see them.

The kit also included fruit and water as well as a little bit of money. It was made from my favorite repurposed brown paper bags that were individually painted.

I drove around and handed these out to people in need holding signs of hard times. The reason I labeled this post as “Love in Circulation” is because of the belief that whatever we put out into the world is what we will receive back. If you project hate, frustration, ignorance you will only see the world filled with that and in turn experience those emotions in circulation throughout life. So instead put love, kindness, hope into circulation. I know this is easier said than done, but consciously making an effort every day to acknowledge others positively causes a chain reaction even if our actions seem small.

I LOVE YOU!

Related Reading/Viewing:

Mental Illness and Homelessness 
Invisible People
Homeless Veteran Transformation 
Make Them Visible – Social Experiment 
Make Them Visible – Website
Union Gospel Mission – Get involved and volunteer locally!

Spotlight – The Surin Project

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I want to start introducing “Spotlight” posts sporadically that showcase a specific organization, person, animal, etc. that is making positive impacts throughout our world no matter how big or small. The goal is to educate others on the spotlighted project/person/thing and generate more awareness of their presence and purpose.

The first Spotlight post is about the Surin Project. I volunteered with the Surin Project while traveling in Thailand and I feel as though I haven’t been able to properly explain in words the impact they are making in captive Asian elephants’ lives. Hopefully today I can do it justice by recounting my own experience and the complex problems facing captive Asian elephants and their mahouts.
(lengthy article ahead)!

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Little Free Library

In my neighborhood on a quiet street in front of a beautiful home, there is the Little Free Library. I discovered this lending library one evening on a walk by myself. It is a big red cabinet filled with borrowed books from neighbors and friends and strangers.

This entire project was actually born the day I came across the library almost a year ago. I instantly wanted to gather up my most-loved books, write little notes in them and share them here for anyone who discovered this semi-secret place.

Instead, I waited until I developed this project further and now I’m so excited to finally contribute a part of my story to the lending library. I’m in the midst of a spring cleaning which is the perfect time to put dust-collected books to good use. I am an eclectic person and enjoy things that don’t quite match or are piled up in a organized heap but I need to cleanse my space and let go of some worldly possessions I’ve been clinging to for too long.

I’m contributing 5 books today. A blank Moleskine notebook, The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, The Wing Shop by Elvira Woodruff, and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Each book has a note about why I love it and wanted to share it. I won’t go into details on what I wrote  but each book came from my personal “library” (heap of books shoved into an Ikea shelving unit) and has affected me in some stage of my life. I encourage you to dust off your old books, share some love within the pages and donate them to your own lending library.

I really wanted to share my most-treasured book, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.I happened upon it by accident at a time in my life when I didn’t quite know who I was yet (college…) But I still feel I need to hold onto it for a bit longer. However, I found solace in this seemingly random book I didn’t know I was looking for. Secondhand books hold a sort of magic in them and you never know when the book you donated will find it’s way to a person who might really need it.

Related Reading:

Little Free Library

The Untethered Soul Amazon Link

A Really Sad Reading on The Disappearance of Secondhand Book Stores

– Support Local Secondhand  and Independent Book Stores!

Twice Sold Tales – Capitol Hill 

Queen Anne Book Company – Queen Anne 

Pegasus Book Exchange – West Seattle 

Magus Books – University District 

Yelp List of Seattle Secondhand and Independent Book Stores