Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Relay for Life in Bakersfield

When other cities are bragging about winning the NBA, NFL or NHL titles, we in Bakersfield can top that. The Bakersfield Relay for Life is Number One in the WORLD. That’s right. The American Cancer society sends folks to our town to observe and learn how we do Relay.

I’m proud to be part of the largest, most well-known Relay for Life. Relay season provides the opportunity to raise money for education and research and for providing aid to cancer patients. We support and show compassion to those living with cancer. We honor cancer survivors and memorialize relatives, friends, and co-workers who have passed on. 

Thanks to our generous donors, our little team of ten women has maintained “Top 10” fundraising status for many years, holding our own with corporate teams. Our team, Bob Miller & Friends Pull Together for a Cure, rocks!

A bonus for me is time with family. We call it the Sister LoveFest. My sister flies in from Michigan; one daughter travels from North Carolina; the other daughter comes up from Los Angeles; and often Judy’s sister, who lives in Reno, joins us. It’s a reunion and slumber party with several traditions that we anticipate from year to year.

So, with the arrival of sister ReeniĆ©, the giggle train is powering up and is about to leave the station. The girls will arrive soon and hop on. Entwined in our reconnecting and catching up, we will reflect on our family members, friends, and loved ones who live on in our memories. Much of it will be the funny things they did or said. Even in our missing them, the giggle train will chug along. 

I invite you to share a story or memory of your friends and loved ones.

~ xoA ~

Monday, April 18, 2011

Standing Proud

Pride (n.) 1. Proper and justified self-respect  2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in work, achievements, or possessions (American Heritage Dictionary)

Taking pride in our skills, talents, and accomplishments recognizes the unique power that we have within us to affect the world. This is the kind of power that builds communities, cities and nations. It raises children and creates art. This is the power that changes lives and gives rise to productivity in general.

I remember being a kid in the 50’s and hearing adults say that we shouldn’t be too full of ourselves, too prideful. But not our parents. They instilled in us a feeling of pride in achievement. So our self-esteem and confidence grew and more accomplishments followed.

Children are born with this feeling of pride as they grow each day, mastering yesterday’s difficult tasks and performing daunting feats. Then somewhere along the way, often around 3rd grade, some become reluctant to “show their stuff” and retreat from expressing their pride of accomplishment. Others lost it completely during the teen and young adult years.

Spend a few moments thinking about things that you’re proud of: your heritage, your growth and accomplishments, the obstacles you’ve overcome. Write them down.  Read your list aloud and add to it often. When discouraging times come along, re-read it to remind yourself that you have lots to be proud about.

 Juneau, Alaska, zip-lining adventure

It’s not about bragging. It’s not about being better than someone else. It is about recognizing your successes, great and small, and allowing yourself to feel the glow that being proud brings.

Tell us just one thing that you are proud about?

~ xoA ~

Thursday, April 7, 2011

One Small Step, or Two

A little over ten years ago, Mother Nature slammed me down with a shower of blood clots to the lungs. I paid attention and got on a weight loss program that resulted in my losing about 30 pounds and discarding some poor life-style habits. Folks who experience a huge health crisis often change their lives. If they’re lucky enough, that’s what happens. 

Here’s a novel idea: what about starting before the crisis? I wouldn’t have had this thought a decade ago, but as I’m becoming a bit older, and wiser, I’ve begun to take even better care of myself. How about implementing one small change that will make a difference and put you on your way to better health?

Move more. Walk. Dance. Swim. Bike.

Eat differently. Add a veggie or fruit. Substitute whole grains like quinoa or brown rice for refined grains and pastas.

Expand your interests. Try a new hobby. Sign up for a class. Join a group. 

These are small steps to nudge yourself out of a rut or out of your comfort zone, but they could have a large impact on your life. 

Maybe you’re someone who gave up an unhealthy habit for Lent. How about continuing beyond the season and pursuing that more-healthy option long-term? You don’t need a crisis in order to change your behavior. You’re worth it now.

It’s never too early or too late to start. Baby steps. What small steps are you ready to take to improve your life?