Wednesday, April 18, 2012

March Volunteer Hours

E-WIN International Women's Day celebration: 3 hours (2 to serve cake, raising money for YWCA, 1 to cover the meeting to make sure ducks were in a row, writing article to be sent to employees, and purchasing cake and supplies, and other miscellaneous items).

Helped cage clean up with Geri who rescues, domesticates and fosters feral dogs: 3 hours (plus I got to play with Vanilla's puppies after!)

Put together collateral for Team McAwesome: 1 hour

Month total: 7 hours

Yearly total: 17 hours

Still behind. I should have had 25 hours in the first quarter, so will have to make up 8 hours in the rest of the year.

National Volunteer Week

It's National Volunteer Week!

One of my goals every year is to give back my time to various non-profits and other groups in the city. I do this to meet people, learn new skills, feel more grateful for the things I have and to help make someone else's day brighter. This year, my goal is to volunteer 100 hours. I am sure between organizing and cooking breakfasts at Ronald McDonald House, sitting on the Breast Brunch Ever Committee and the EWIN committee, as well as working with the United Way committee again this year, I will get closer to meeting my goal. And I am always looking for new opportunities (even if they are just one-off events) to help out.

Many of the people in my circle of friends are also deeply passionate about giving back time and energy to make the community a better place. I love being surrounded with a circle of awesome! It feels like through very small efforts, we are becoming the change we wish to see. I get to hang out with my friends, saving money and creating a world I want to live in. Seriously, it's awesome!

100 hours a year sounds like a lot. But it works out to less than 2 hours a week. Think about how much time you spend face-stalking or watching TV. Could you trade 2 of those hours to change your life?

I put it out as a challenge. Join me in giving back 100 hours. There are so many different organizations that you can help out with -- from dog walking at the SPCA, playing crib with senior citizens in homes, helping out at events and concerts, or working on career skills to help you land that dream job. Volunteering really helps you develop your self esteem and confidence. And if nothing else, it looks fabulous on your resume. Give it a shot, I guarantee you won't regret it.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Quarter 2 Goals

  • Run the entire loop around the Glenmore Resevoir (approximately 16km) non-stop- Did not meet this goal.
  • Use Living Social Yoga Coupon purchased in January (Activated June 6, 2012) Read blog post here
  • Substitute water and tea for coffee 6 out of 7 days a week I completely gave up coffee for the month of June (it was a long 30 days, but I don't crave coffee anymore. Am a huge fan of green tea now. And MIO in my water (which will probably change as I became more aware of where my food was coming from this quarter). 
  • Research and implement ways to become more of a locavore: Read Raj Patal's Stuffed and Starved, Michael Pollen's The Omnivore's Dilemma, Locavore by Sarah Elton, began shopping at the farmers market weekly, contacted Slow Food Calgary for a potential lunch and learn workshop with EWIN.
  • Save $1000 for vacation with Rainman in August  We are no longer going on vacation in August. Going to plan a winter vacation somewhere tropical instead. No longer applicable
  • 25 hours volunteer work that continues growing my network, my interpersonal skills and my professional skills: Met this goal as of May 28! Total at end of June 2012 =27 hours :) Total for year-to-date:52
  • Close mutual funds account and move the funds into my RRSP- Did not meet this goal
  • Finish Atlas Shrugged- Did not meet this goal. This book is great once I start reading again, I read all evening. But then I put it down and it takes me weeks to pick it back up.
  • Learn 1 new skill on each of the Window Office Applications that will improve my job efficiency  I took an online office suite exam and in the process learned how to find the next best meeting time for all attendees using Outlook, how to print 3 spreadsheets onto one sheet, how to merge two excel workbooks onto the same workbook, how to import text into excel, how to automatically create a table of contents in word, how to add a comment when reviewing a document and how to auto add citations using the appropriate citation style.
  • Attend a networking type session that will increase my knowledge in one of the areas I am interested in career wise (social media, event planning, writing): Signed up for MRU's Social Media for Business Extension Certificate, will have completed first 2 courses and a twitter workshop as of June 30 2012. Considering this a step towards the future I want as it has taught me new skills and allowed me to meet other like minded individuals!

I think this has been my most productive quarter and I am highly motivated to continue this with the third quarter of 2012. Great way to break down my goals and actually tackle them :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Wisdom of Buddha

Reading this post today on Tiny Buddha, I decided to answer the 6 power questions that will change my life forever.

1.What do I absolutely love in life?

  • volunteering
  • organizing get-togethers among my friends
  • dancing
  • running
  • the smell of rain
  • cooking
  • my fur babies
  • romance
  • movies that inspire
  • reading
  • hugs

2.What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

  • raised over $3000 and biked 220km over 2 days for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Achieved this due to my innovative and creative ways to fund raise as well as my ability to instill excitement and enthusiasm in others
  • recently started running and completed a 10k race in less than an hour. Achieved this due to following a schedule to train my body for distance running and through my determination to cross the finish line without giving up
  • organize a group of people to get together and cook a meal for the families staying at Ronald McDonald House once a month. Facilitate meal plans and make sure costs are covered. Achieved this through my love of giving back and my joy in organization coming together to inspire others to give back as well
  • Part of the 2011  UW committee at my workplace and we were nominated for the Spirit of Gold Quantum Leap Award. This is awarded to companies over 500 employees that achieve significant increases in participation and funds raised among employees. Proud to have been part of this team!

3.What would I stand for if I know no one would judge me?

If I had no fear, I would

  • quit my job and finish school full time. Having a degree to proudly hang on my wall is one of my greatest desires
  • speak up more in meetings, knowing that my ideas are worthy of being heard and implemented.
  • volunteer in other countries to learn new skill sets, travel and grow more as a person
  • share my story with others and let them know that what happens to you in the past by a person does not define you, you are not tainted, and you can be powerful and strong

4. If my life had absolutely no limits and I could have it all and do whatever I wanted, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

  • I would choose to write. And not worry if anyone was reading what I wrote. Or picking apart how I wrote a piece.
  • I would have a beautiful house overlooking water -- an ocean, a lake, a river. I would be close enough to the city that I could still enjoy the culture a city provides, but far enough away that I can enjoy a luscious garden, a chicken coop, and the quiet solitude that only the country can offer.
  • I would have a more flexible work schedule that allowed me to attend more volunteer opportunities, or work during my night owl hours when I feel most productive
  • I would continue to educate myself. Life long learning through courses and travel and networking events

5.What would I do if I had one billion dollars?

All of those things I listed above, as well as complete my English degree, pay off all of my outstanding debt, start a charity, help my parents out the way they have always helped me.

6.Who do I admire most in the world?

  • cliche, but my mom. She was a single parent and made life work for us. There were times when cupboards were not as full as my peers' cupboards were. Or I didn't have the trendiest clothes. or couldn't attend events. But this helped me understand the value of a dollar and how to prioritize. As well as how to experiment in the kitchen to whip up a meal from just a few ingredients.
  • make fun of me if you want, but Martha Stewart. She took the traditional homemaker tasks and turned them into an empire for herself. It's a good thing. ;-)
  • The founder of Little Warriors for being brave enough to share her story, and for creating a place to help other survivors get help and stay safe.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Run Baby Run

"Love can be strange, Don't it amaze you?"

Did I mention I took up running? I started to give back to various charities while forcing myself to work out. Win-win right? Except I may possibly be addicted now.

Yesterday I ran my first 10k to help raise money for the Calgary International Food Bank. It felt fantastic to feel the brisk Spring air against my face as I ran next to the river, hearing birds chirp and the water rush and the various conversations of runners next to me discuss times, techniques and random gossip to help get through the kilometers. I paced myself pretty good the first 5K and then at the turn around point, I increased my speed up a notch. It felt pretty awesome to see I made it 7km, 8km and finally 9km. That final km to the finish line, I booked 'er. part of it was that I just wanted to be done running, part of it was to meet my goal of completing in 65 minutes and part of it was to see Rainman waiting for me at the finish line with a look of pride upon his face. I didn't notice the clock when I made it in. There was a lot of excitement happening around the end. Volunteers cheering us on, loved ones waiting with anticipation for their runners to cross the line, people reaching out for our tags to help officially mark our time. Rainman informed me that it was at 59:30. Official time came in last night and I actually did it in 59:16. 6 minutes less than my goal and my first 10k in under an hour. Even typing this, I am beaming and so proud of myself! 

Yesterday was a first for me, marking the beginning of more races,more runs, more feelings of accomplishment. I already began researching half-marathons that I could train for. Imagined places i could travel to and compete in races. Adding more and more adventures into my bucket, not necessarily checking them off of an elusive bucket-list. Rainman told me that he wouldn't mind running too. And I imagine us running together -- weekend morning jogs in the park, raising money and awareness for various causes, meeting at the finish line, glowing with sweat and joy for reaching goals together. I loved having him waiting for me at the finish line, but the idea of crossing it with me is even more appealing. There is nothing like sharing your new found love in life with the love of your life. The biggest benefit of all of this running is that I am shedding the shell of my past and welcoming my future to join me.