Two years ago I spent a rainy month in Portland, Oregon visiting my sons. One especially wet day as I dodged puddles, maneuvered my umbrella and navigated my way around people and their dogs in bright yellow slickers (yes, a lot of the dogs in Portland wear rain gear) I mused about places in the world where people live and there is no water. That day in Portland there was water everywhere: dripping off the hood of my jacket into my face, small rivers running down the street, tree branches heavy with moisture, and especially inside my boots squishing through soggy grass. Periodically I had to wipe the fog from my glasses so I could see. Living in a place with no water is beyond the scope of my understanding. Women in particular, in many communities, have to walk long distances to get water.
We can do something about this. Since this particular lightbulb went off, Charity: Water has been my charity of choice. They say that one in ten people on this planet lacks access to clean water. Through our donations, Charity: Water partners with people all over the world to build community owned water projects providing clean water. This matters to me.
You can read about them here: www.charitywater.org
Charity: Water also has an interesting quiz on their website where you can answer a few questions and see who in a far away community is most like you.
Today, Saturday, April 22, 2017, is Earth Day. A year ago many of you spent Earth Day 2016 with me and my wonderful friends at the Women of Substance Conference. Your participation in that day resulted in donations of over $400 each to Ronald McDonald House, Camp Dreamcatcher, Girls on the Run, and Charity: Water.
If you have interest in helping me donate to Charity: water here is my proposal to you:
I have made "I Love the World" one of a kind art cards. They are mixed media using tea bags, embroidery, paints and indigo dyed papers and you can see the cards here.The cost of the card, including shipping, is $15. If you buy one of the cards from me I will turn around and donate your $15 plus $5 of my own to Charity: Water. That is an $20 donation to Charity:Water. Just send me an email and indicate which art card you would like and where you would like it mailed. It could also be a thoughtful gift given in some one else's name. If you are not crazy about donating to Charity: Water but would instead like to donate to another charity, I'll send you a card anyway with your word that you will make a donation. (I will only add $5 to Charity: Water donations.) There are so many good ways to make a difference in the world.
On this beautiful Earth Day in Pennsylvania it is raining as I write this note. It is so green here! Go out, create, share, play, do what you do to make the world a better place!
Optimism: a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future
I may be the champion of encouragement, optimism and finding the joy, but really, who can be positive all the time? My life, like yours, has been a messy mix of sorrow, pain, challenges, boredom, anxiety, joys, contentment and excitement. We are all living the full catastrophe. In each of our lives there are long stretches where optimism seems like a fantasy and joy has flown out the window to nest in someone else's tree.
Right now I know of women mourning the death of a husband or a child, parents struggling with troubled children and young adults trying to find meaning in their life. Sixty year old friends have recently lost their jobs and with insufficient income and savings doubt they'll find work to support their family. I know men and women struggling with addiction, anxiety, infertility, and obesity. Friends are facing cancer and all other kinds of health issues, spouses with dementia, and aging parents.
In these situations, wouldn't the logical conclusion be to go to bed and pull the covers up over one's head?
And yet, for the most part, none of us give up. We still get up every morning and keep trying to make things better in any way we can. I'm not saying its easy or fun, but we do keep trying.
Being an optimist doesn't mean one always believes that good things will happen. I think optimism is big enough and flexible enough to embrace the idea that living optimistically also means that we don't give up when the going gets tough.
Give yourself that. Today you did the best you could with what life has given you. You keep trying. It may not be pretty and you may not succeed but you keep trying every day to live a life that reflects the values that are important to you. Give yourself credit for the courage it requires to get up each morning and face the challenges of your life.