Sunday, December 28, 2014

#ThinkKit Megapost (#ThinkKit Days 23-28 all in one)

#ThinkKit Days 23-28:

I got a way behind on blogging around Xmas. I just couldn't find the motivation to write, and the next thing I knew I was nearly a week behind. I wanted to blog every day, so while that clearly didn't happen, I'm going catch up now with a megapost, blogging in succinct (for me) style on all the topics from the past six days. Carry on.

Day 23:

Apple Of Your Eye

You've ranted. You've raved. You've freestyled, soapboxed, and even waved a magic wand or two. Today, let's keep it positive. Who (or what) is doing something good? Share a story of your positive action, whether it's a favorite charity, foundation, or nonprofit – or just an individual whose penchant for do-goodery makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Over the years, I've been on the hunt for a really good nonprofit organization. My experience with a lot of nonprofits has been that they have great ideas, but once I get to know them, I get discouraged by the way they handle their finances, or the way they manage their programs. But a few years back, I had the pleasure of working on a food recovery program with Second Helpings and I fell in love.

Second Helpings recovers food from grocery stores, events, restaurants, and other places that would otherwise be thrown in the dumpster. This is perfectly good food - it's not the leftovers sitting out on the buffet line. It's the stuff that was prepped back in the kitchen but was never needed. It's the stuff that would expire soon in the grocery store, but is still perfectly fresh. And they take this food and turn it into healthy meals, which they then distribute to schools, day cares, and all other kinds of places in the greater Indianapolis area that feed hungry people. The staff is both pragmatic and caring, and they keep their eye on their mission. I encourage anyone looking for a year-end nonprofit to support to look their way.

Day 24:

A Dash Of Thanks

What are you thankful for? Maybe it's from this year – or maybe it's something in your past that resonated with you recently. And – we hold people, places, and things in equal regard: a sense of gratefulness can take many forms. 

Goal for next year: get out of the backpack
I am thankful for so much that's it's impossible to choose just one. I have amazing people in my life, and I live comfortably working a job I like. That's something not everyone has, and I know I'm a lucky duck. I've also been thinking lately about how lucky I am to be healthy, and have a functional body. I ran a marathon this year. And recently, thanks to a friend who is amazing at it, I've discovered a new love of aerial silks. I'm lucky that my body can try these new things, that it can move and bend and get stronger. I've taken, and will keep taking as long as I can, these opportunities to test my physical limits, and I appreciate that every day. I don't get to see my friends as often as I'd like, but I love this tradition, and I love spending time with them. 

Day 25:

What's Your Tradition?

Hanging out with Millie the goat. We are tight.
Today we'll keep it short and sweet. Share a photo from your year that highlights giving, thankfulness, traditions or finding peace. What does the photo represent to you?

My tradition for the past three holiday seasons is that a couple weeks prior to Christmas, I go out to visit my friends Erin and Nick, who live a good hour away from Indy, to help them package and make boxes for their awesome wooden toys. They have a business called Imagination Kids Toys, where they make all kinds of animals and stackables, and I love going out there to be their "elf" for the day to help in my small way with getting the orders out. We talk nonstop all day and evening, visit with their chickens, pony, and goat, hang out with their kids, and get dinner from the truck stop Indian restaurant. 

Day 26:

Goin' Places

What place stood out for you this year? Outdoors or indoors; a huge gathering or a tête-à-tête? Where were you? Who were you with? What feeling did you have when leaving? Were you inspired? Refreshed? Or...confused and glad to be gone? Whether it was exciting...or awkward: give us a hall pass out of our own room for a few minutes.

A winter wonderland in July
Like so many of these posts that say choose just one example, it was hard to choose just one place that really stood out this year, but when I looked back through my photos, this one stood out. It's from the Awards Night party during the Indy Film Fest at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in July. Our fearless leader and president, Craig, worked with the resourceful events people at the IMA to have these giant snowflakes hung from the ceiling on the stage behind the screen in the Toby Theater, to go with the winter theme of that night's featured film, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter. When the film ended, Craig said a few words and gestured his arms dramatically as the screen rolled up to the ceiling to reveal this swanky party. It truly looked and felt magical, and it was a highlight of the time I spent on the film fest's board, which I formally stepped down from just last week. I look forward to going again next year as a volunteer and spectator to see what new things they will have in store for us.

Day 27:

Show & Tell

Time to show off your handiwork: what did you make this year? Share something personal, like a song or art. What inspired you? Was the finished work what you initially imagined? Or a work project – what was the process? The end result? Share your vision...and your work!

My main crafty hobbies these days are quilting and knitting, though this year I have let them fall by the wayside somewhat. I made this quilt for my mom's birthday in February, and I was really proud at how it turned out. Quilts take hours upon hours of work, and I love being able to give someone something that tells them that's how much I care. I hope next year to make some more quilts, but looking back on this year, I'm proud of this one. 

Day 28:

One Small Step

Set your sights on the next year: what's one step you can take to support a goal you have for 2015? Whether it requires a written plan, a list of supplies or ingredients, or even a flowchart: getting your plan down in words should help spur you into action.

A couple weeks ago I signed up to ride my bike in the Tour de Cure next summer, and I posted a link for anyone who wanted to donate to my fundraising goal of $200. Frankly, I felt a little uncomfortable asking for money, and I didn't really expect anyone to donate. But they did! One friend donated immediately, and I was overcome by her generosity. Then a Facebook friend who I've never actually met but know through online running discussions pitched in, and then a friend who cycles more in a month than I will in the rest of my life. I was so impressed with their willingness to pitch in. I see requests to donate to this cause or that so often that I feel guilty that my modest income doesn't allow me to donate what I'd like. So in the past, I've rarely donated. But my friends made me realize that it's ok to donate what you can - every little bit helps. So as we go into next year, it's my personal goal to donate every time I'm asked, even if it's only $10 or $15 that I can part with at that moment. It all matters, and feeling supported is worth more than the cash itself. Thank you everyone for your support! I promise to pay it forward and then some.

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