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Archive for September, 2013

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

When I was growing up, whenever I was asked the popular question ‘if you could have one super power, what would it be?’ my answer was always the same.  If I had one super power, it would be the ability to affect change.   I never failed to get funny looks, or have folks tell me that isn’t a real answer, or that I should be thinking of more fun things.

If you asked me the same question today, that would still be my answer.

The ability to affect change is a super power.  One that lays dormant in a lot of us.  It’s like the mutant gene, only unlike the X-Men, our super power can be ignored, and so many people make that choice.

People are so quick to assume their voices don’t matter, or that their actions mean nothing.  It is those thoughts that have played a major factor in leading the world we live in to be so apathetic to everything happening around it.   They either don’t care about the situation because it’s not at their doorstep, or they see such a devastating disaster and don’t feel that they can do anything to help something so huge… and they’re wrong.

We cannot change the earthquake that wracked Haiti, or the levees breaking in New Orleans anymore than we can stop the fires or the floods wreaking havoc on Colorado, but we can change those people’s situations.

Random Acts raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Haiti, and helped fund the Jacmel Children’s Center that provides a school and home to children in Jacmel.  Tom Hiddleston lived below the line to help bring awareness and funds to the impoverished, Nathan Fillion helped bring thousands of dollars worth of donations to bring water to folks that need it, but you don’t have to have a million twitter followers to be a part of changing the world.

That center would not have happened without all of you, all of us.  All of the folks that cared enough to have a voice and work for that change.   Same with the water, and the funding for the impoverished, and every other major charity endeavor that anyone anywhere has stood behind.   We are the change.   You are the heroes.

It is your love and caring that changes the world.  It is the fact that you see the homeless person on the street and don’t just look past them like everyone else.  You’ve seen the apathy of the general populace and you have decided that wont be you.  In case no one’s thanked you for that today… thank you.  The world needs you.  All of us need you.

Endure for Kindness is coming up in November.  We are to do whatever we choose for as long as we can in a 24 hour period.  The folks of Team MMAD and I will be baking bread for 24 hours straight, and then all bread baked is going to be taken to folks in need in our community.   Attached to the bread will be notes of love, and caring.  Just a few words to let them know that they are not alone, and there are folks out there that care and want to help.

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Here’s where you come in.  This is also a fundraiser to help support Random Acts.  This is the same charity that made the Jacmel Children’s Center a possibility.  The same charity that brings shoes to children who’s family can’t afford them, waterheaters to those in need… they’ve filled homes for a family that has tried their damndest and things just didn’t pan out and inspired thousands of people aren’t the world to do random acts of their own.

I cannot imagine a better charity to raise money for, and I am so excited to be participating in this.  If you, or anyone you know has anything they can spare to fund this wonderful group, or help spur us on 15 hours in when we are wondering why we are insane, please help us out at:  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/ameliaemberwing

Thank you for being the change you want to see in the world… we cannot do what we do without you.

 

 

 

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This post is originally from Katherine Bullock and the ACFFC. Photography in this post copywrite to Katherine Bullock.

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“The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

 

I have tried to write this several times now.   It’s hard only because there is so much to say, and I am not sure how to say it in a cohesive, intelligent manner.  If I run all over the place, you’ve been warned.  Hell, if you know me, you’re probably pretty used to it.

Toward the beginning of 2013, I found this group called Random Acts.  This guy I followed on Twitter named Misha posted about it.  If you watch Supernatural, he’s the angel dude.  You know, the one that when you try to impersonate him you sound like Bale’s Batman?  Yeah.  That guy.   So anyway, he posts this tweet about this thing called AMOK.  Immediately, I start bouncing around like Sara Jessica Parker in Hocus Pocus.  If you don’t understand my reference, please get off my blog right now and go educate yourself.  I DIGRESS!  He posts about AMOK, so I follow the link, because I was mildly entertained.

This link took me to therandomact.org. On their website is a description of the event that is basically just ‘Hey, do something nice for someone today, because, BECAUSE! That’s why!”

I sat there staring at the page for a while.  I thought the concept was perfectly amazing, but when I tried to think of what I would do, nothing came to me.   I didn’t want to do something small, but knew I didn’t have the funds to do anything completely grand.   I can tell you, I didn’t stop thinking about this for the weeks leading up to the day of the event.  That day came, and still I had absolutely nothing. 

That weekend I was down with my sister in the Springs and we were just wandering about really.  We walked around most of the day, myself still frustratingly idea-less and this went on until we were leaving the grocery store.  Out in the parking lot there was a nicely dressed woman with a little boy in her arms.  She was standing next to her car, which was more or less just a normal sedan, looking a little frazzled. 

I need to pause the story here for a minute to explain something.  I am not friendly.  Everyone argues this point, and that’s because they are already my friends.  Seriously though, I am not.  I don’t talk to people I don’t know unless I am forced or they’re a friend of a friend or something along those lines.  Human beings terrify me.  BACK TO THE STORY!

This woman is there, by her average car, in her nice clothes, clutching her little boy looking frazzled. I saw her, and before I knew what was happening I asked her if there was anything wrong. 

The woman just stared at me for a moment, then told me that I was the first person to ask her anything like that.  She went on to explain that she was driving through town coming home from a funeral and that her wallet was stolen or lost wherever she was before.   Since this was on a Sunday there was no way for her to get to a bank to explain her plea, and no way for anyone to wire her any money until the following day.  The woman assured me that her husband would be sending some funds then so they could get home all safe and sound, but in the meantime, they were staying in the car because the hotel they had planned on staying in on their way home was unsympathetic to her problem.

We did not stay and talk long at all.  Once again, I don’t really know how to deal with folks I don’t know.  Before we left though, I recalled that I had taken some cash out, and there was a cheap hotel exceptionally close.  By the time she had finished telling her story I had my wallet out and was handing her the money.  She gawked at me a moment before accepting, which I am convinced she ultimately did because of her son.  Thanking me profusely, we parted ways, both of us with huge smiles on my face.

It was at that point when the name Random Acts made sense to me.  Clearly I had known what it meant before, I am not an imbecile, but like River said ‘she understands, but she does not comprehend.’  I knew what Random Acts meant going in to it, but I really, truly, genuinely… didn’t.

And that’s the starting point that takes me to the now.  Since that day in March I haven’t been the same.  Hope to Haiti happened.  I am still beyond heartbroken that I wasn’t able to go meet the children and work on the center with my own hands, but some marvelous folks went instead, and I know in my heart that there will be other adventures.  In the meantime, despite not going, I raised a decent amount of money for a wonderful cause, and met so many fantastic people.  People that I cannot express what they mean to me, mostly because it baffles me.  Not in a ‘why are they important’ kind of way, but in a ‘how can I feel such a connection to someone I have never met’ kind of way.

In the hope of avoiding sounding stalkerish, I want to tell you a little bit about these folks, because damnit, the world just needs to know.

 

There’s Rea.  Rea was the first person I talked to throughout this crazy whirlwind of what are my feels towards Random Acts.  Rea had raised her 5K to go on the trip to work on the center, but she needed a little bit more to travel so she set up a personal page to help travel costs.  I shared this on a whim, because I wanted to help her out, so she thanked me, we started following each other, and since that point every conversation fills me with a warm kind of joy.  Everything she says is genuine, and kind, and I am so thankful to know her.

 

Then there’s Katherine.  I don’t remember how we started talking, but I know it was because of Haiti, and I know she was ridiculously supportive the whole time.  Let me tell you people, this woman is ridiculously inspirational and brave, even though she will tell you that’s not so.  She’s involved with the ACFFC now too, so stay tuned for news about that.  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/katherinebullock

 

Shelley’s from Australia, and she makes chainmail too! She’s a timelord, but her iTunes hates her.  Because she is a timelord, she has two hearts, and let me tell you, they’re both HUGE!

 

Postalpixxie is in there too.  Forgive me, I don’t know her name, but seriously dude, Wonder Woman in roller skates.  We haven’t been talking for very long, but she has been unbelievably supportive without knowing me at all!  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/NicoleGillespie

 

Kerry crochet’s sock monkey hats!  Kerry is very kind.  I haven’t met her either, but she makes me smile a lot.  And she crochets hats.  http://www.crowdrise.com/endure4kindness/fundraiser/kerrykittleson

 

Last but certainly not least is Erin.  We’ve been talking a lot lately.  She’s a little shy, but has a huge heart, and I am very blessed to have met her, just like the others, throughout all of these wonderful missions.

 

 

Random Acts has filled my heart with so much.  Filled it to the point that it’s stretched and it now requires so much more to fill it.   Now we’re moving in to the mission of Endure for Kindness (you can find the links to the other folk’s fundraisers as well).   My wonderful team and I will be baking for 24 hours and taking the bread to those in need around our community.  For those of you being inundated, I hope this post helps you understand a little bit. 

 

If you want to know a little bit more about Random Acts, you can visit them at http://www.therandomact.org/

 

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“Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism.”

 

12 years ago today our country was attacked.  I do not know a single American who cannot tell you where they were or what they were doing when it happened.  Many lives were lost that day, and many more in the war on an ideal that was to come of it.  We will never forget, and all those lost will always be in our hearts.

Please read that first paragraph a few times to grasp what I am about to say – Be wounded, be angry, mourn our loved ones, feel the appropriate level of discomfort by the boundaries that they breached… and move forward.  I am not saying forget.  No.  When history is forgotten it is doomed to repeat itself.  Remember, but step onward.

So much hate is spewed out today, every year.  There’s always hate, and inevitably, its best friend ignorance.

I understand the rage and the want to defend our home.  The problem is, so many people fail to understand something:  A race did not attack us.  It wasn’t a culture, or a religion attacking us.  It was a terrorist group.  Be angry at them, hate them, but do not scream your intolerance at a race or religion as a whole.

There are so many Muslims here in America just wanting to live a peaceful life.  Far too often, these people are met with hate or intolerance.

Those who are the hateful and intolerant will tell you that they are not racist, they’re just cautious.  Unfortunately, that’s just completely untrue, and that is, indeed, blatant racism.

We as a country will never be able to fully move forward when these people are around preaching their hate.  They spew it out every year on this day (and some all year round).  You’ll hear about it on the news, or they’ll tell you themselves over social media.  They’ll protest their mosques, their faith, their culture, anything.

I know this isn’t a new ideal, and that I am not the only one who feels this way.  I know most of you reading this blog feel precisely the same way I do.  With that, please help.

There are so many people today preaching hate.  Help me preach love.  Nothing will ever change when those with good in their hearts sit idly by.

Help the world understand that a turban doesn’t equal a terrorist, and as always, remember those that we lost.

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Random Failures

“I’m not after fame and success and fortune and power. It’s mostly that I want to have a good job and have good friends; that’s the good stuff in life.”

 

 

As mentioned in a previous post,  I really love my job.  So, on days that I feel like I suck at it, it really upsets me.  I realize we all have those days, I realize a lot of it’s in my head, but it has me in a massive, frustrated, funk right now.

Earlier today I upset one of our oldest customers simply because he can’t communicate.  By the way, when I say ‘upset’ I mean I ticked him off to the point that he hung up on me and called our founder.  That was my morning.  Then, when he finally called back after said founder telling him to shut up and calm down, neither me or the dev team could fix the issue.  Way to prove his theory of incompetence there.

To add on to that, one of our account owners talked to a guy that I have been having a really hard time with  for weeks and calmed him down in moments, and got him to be a really pleasant human being.   There has never been a moment in our several phone conversations where he wasn’t a completely rude jerkoff.   People tried to make me feel better, rationalizing that there are some folks that just don’t want help from a female, and that will always be a thing, but that isn’t an acceptable answer.

I am just stuck in this ‘why do you fail so hard’ kind of mindset right now.  I think it is partially because I am really tired, but the fact that I am stuck in a rut makes me FURTHER upset.  Today is just an obnoxious kind of day.

With all that though, one of the folks very high up in the company pulled me aside a couple moments ago to tell me that every piece of paper I have sent across her desk in the past 48 hours has been completely correct.  I have taken over helping our billing department set up new accounts, and input training and cancellation information, and it is a huge process to learn, with about 45 steps total.  That made me feel a little better.

Our founder also shot me an email to let me know I was doing great and to not feel discouraged.

I truly do work for a wonderful company and a wonderful bunch of people… but holy crap I am irritated today. Maybe once they hire a new person and I don’t have to be up at 4:00 AM… or once we get this guy’s problem fixed.  I don’t know.

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Endure

I am excruciatingly awful at keeping up with this.  Let me touch on a few events of the summer.

First, my sister lost her home in the Black Forest Fire here in Colorado.  Many people came forward and helped us dig through the ashes, and help them financially.  It was quite inspiring to see.  Even saved a couple relationships that I had thought completely doomed, because sometimes, there are just things that are more damn important than petty grudges.  Anyway, they are now mostly back on their feet, and just received orders to Japan.  That will be something I touch on in a future blog, because there’s just too much emotion there to handle it now.

Due to my sister losing her home, I was also running our chainmail booth at the Renaissance Festival.  Thankfully I had a lot of help from a wonderful team of folks, but that ate up a ton of my time with making pieces and trying to keep the parts that I was responsible for running smoothly.

Along with both of those major situations going on, I got a new job.  Said new job has been the best I have ever had, and I truly count my blessings every day.   I am now working with a small software company in the automotive industry.   I am in their IT department, and as of late I have also been working with billing, setting up new accounts.   Never have I worked for a better company, and I very much look forward to spending my career with them. 

Now, with all those excuses out of the way, I am really going to try and keep up with this more.  Not only to keep in touch with my out of town folks, but because of the crazy events that I take part in that just take up too much of my heart to stay inside.

That video illustrates one of them.  Back in March many of you came forward to help me raise money for this amazing cause.  Together, we raised $660 for these kids and this cause as a whole.   When I saw that video above, I couldn’t stop the tears.  Magic was made for those kids, and in a small way, we were a part of that.   I can’t think of anything better I could possibly do with my life.

 

There was also the phychotic-ness that was GISHWHES (The greatest international scavenger hunt the world has ever seen).  Though not directly involved with Random Acts, it is put on by Misha Collins, and we do work in conjunction with RA each year for certain submissions.  This year we helped fill a home that was being built for some folks that luck just hasn’t liked as of late.   Throughout this event we spread joy, kindness, and killed the crap out of normal.  Here, have some pictures!

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One of the submissions was to do something you’ve always wanted. So we had a food fight. This is the aftermath.

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I still have acne from this.

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Yes. That is us in a dumpster. Yes. It was gross. It also gave me the biggest bruise of my life.

For more of these shenanigans, you can see my album on Facebook. 

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Now we are moving in to a whole new event.  Endure 4 Kindness.  Myself and some of that crazy bunch of folks you see above will be baking for as long as we possibly can and then taking all of the goods to those in need.  I will be giving more updates on that mission as we get closer to it. 

In the mean time, we are moving in to a new apartment, and we have a show coming up shortly as well!  Speaking of all of that, I need to hop back to packing.  I promise not to stay gone for too long this time!

 

 

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