volunteering :: from us, for us

Have you ever stopped to think how many of the places and organizations you frequent or enjoy the benefits of or simply believe in not only accept volunteers, but even depend on them? As in, they wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for people willing to help out, expecting nothing in their pockets afterwards. When you think of the idea of volunteering, maybe you think it’s lame. Maybe you think volunteers walk away empty-handed. But I suppose it all depends on perspective. I think they walk away anything but empty-handed.

 

Volunteering is giving to someone else while also giving to yourself.

 

Although it’s over a week in, the new year is still fresh on my mind. As I’ve thought of my post 365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012, I’ve wondered what I’d do one on if I did one. I like writing. I like blogging. I like making waterballoons and eating spoonfuls of peanut butter. I like taking photographs of my goofy but loveable friends and attempting to draw obscure flowers like mountain laurel.

But what is one-year-of-my-life worthy? What is one-year-of-my-life blogworthy? It’s strange how thinking on what you blog about inevitably leads you to think on what your life is about. (And for any first-time readers, this is probably the most philosophical I’ve ever waxed in a post. I’ll try to throw in a few jokes or puns before it’s all over.)

Well, here’s what I decided: whatever you blog about, you are promoting in some way. I always blog about blogging, because I, of course, promote readers to begin blogs about the random things I write on. But this year, I want to promote something else, too. I want to promote volunteering, giving back, helping people, putting into those people and places that provide so much for you and your community.

So, here’s the goal: volunteer at one place in my community per week this whole year. I already have a list of possibilities. Along the way, I hope anyone in the area will join me in my ventures. In fact, I hope never to go alone. I’m not sure yet if I’ll blog about this 52 project, but someone should start a blog about it.

Example blog: http://volunteer52.wordpress.com/ (Perfect example, might I add! And I thought of the idea before even seeing this blog, but it goes to show I’m not the only one around here with some good ideas.)

The promised joke: A peanut walks into a bar, and then . . . Snickers.

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when the icecream truck arrives, the icecream arrives

When it rains, it pours. We all know that this familiar phrase means something along the lines of, “Bad things always happen in pairs.” This phrase always reminds me of that motif in movies where the characters are broken down on the side of the road, the closest gas station is 25 miles away, and they open the trunk, only to discover that their dog Scruffy (who was being stowed in the trunk for some unknown reason) has eaten all the food supplies. But, inevitably, one character will console the rest by proclaiming, “At least it’s not raining.” And, boom! As if it was an invocation of Zeus himself, it starts to rain.

Well, I like to consider myself a very optimistic person, but yet, I can’t think of a single proverb that means the opposite (that good things never happen alone, either). That’s why, for the sake of this post, I had to create my own: When the icecream truck arrives, the icecream arrives.

Icecream trucks are a delight in their own right. They’ve got it all. Dainty music looping. Pictures of children scooping. Chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry grouping. (This paragraph reminds me of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” so far.) I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get excited when they view an icecream truck driving down the neighborhood street.

Have your icecream truck and your icecream, too.

But when the icecream truck arrives, so does the icecream! That’s the best part, no? Icecream sandwiches, popsicles, sprinkles everywhere, cones, and bars. If icecream trucks weren’t enough, you get icecream, too!

Now, at this point you may be wondering why I have gone to great lengths to explain a fabricated proverb about icecream trucks, as you well should be. Keep reading. You’ll see soon.

When I first started this blog, I envisioned a sweeping phenomenon of readers grabbing hold of each post and starting their own blog that I could showcase along the way. I’ve enjoyed writing the blog, reading comments, hearing feedback from friends and bloggers, it just hasn’t been the way I envisioned.

But dear readers, the icecream truck and the icecream arrived this week. After posting 365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012, I had three good friends decide to start a project/blog in part because of the inspiration of this post. I couldn’t believe it!

So now, it’s only right that I let you in on their blogs!

FewFavorite – 365 Project of photos highlighting some of my sister Kerrie’s favorite things

Felicityefriann – 366 Project (because 2012 is a leap year) that shares a photo about my friend Felecia’s day; She’s also trying to learn one song on the guitar each week.

Revolutiondude – My friend Lucas’ daily blog about finding meaning in the small things

Blog on, bloggers!

365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012

One year. One project. Are you in?

The official WordPress blog recently encouraged readers to “Kick Off 2012 with Project 365.” Though this project is most often associated with taking one picture each day for a year (There’s a whole site for it, 365project.org, with over 70,000 users uploading one photo from each day of their project.), the concept of a 365-day project can be adapted to fit any project you hope to work on during 2012.

Another variation of the project is a Project 52 (I’m not sure if that’s an official term, but we’ll agree on it, okay?). The idea is much the same, only you do what you do to add to your project once a week instead of every day. My friend Michael Gibbons is working on a 52-week project (Check out his Scottish spiel by following the link. End shameless promo.) in which he hopes to make one video each week of 2012. He even has a theme for each week that the video must express! (Talk about project-ready.)

Now, if you’re numerical and all, then you may have gathered that 365 days and 52 weeks are two equations both equal to one year’s time. (I really don’t make these mathematical statements to insult your intelligence, dear reader. I’m just not very mathematical and like to pretend I am every once in a while.) You would be right.

Today is January 1, 2012.

So if you’re right (365 days= 1 year and 52 weeks= 1 year) and I’m right (Today is January 1, 2012.), then I believe there’s a little more going on here than math. Yes, an idea that’s brewing like hot coffee at a corporate office. Because today is the first day of a new year, it’s the perfect time to start a Project 365 or 52. So why not?

A new year is the ultimate in late Christmas presents.

Now, you know I have to throw in a little promo for starting a blog (I’ve been promoing all over the place in this post.), but I’d like to give a list of ideas for projects, and you could do these whether or not you decide to blog about it. (Of course, I’ll be the first to subscribe to your blog if you do blog about your project.)

PROJECT IDEAS

Remember: Do/Make/Take/Write (about) one per day or week.

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Meal/Dish
  • Illustration
  • Interview
  • Song
  • Poem
  • Short story
  • Craft
  • Form of exercise
  • Restoration (car, antique, etc.)
  • Review (book, restaurant, movie, etc.
  • Page of your next book
  • Invention
  • Update on your ventures in …
  • Way to give
  • One Dress Protest or other social activism
  • Letter
  • Development of a skill 
  • Experience at a new job
  • Conversations
  • Tour (of your hometown, or the world)
  • ((Insert your creative idea here))

This isn’t an exhaustive list, because you could Project 365 or Project 52 almost anything. But if you do, start a blog about it . . .