Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Almost April

Isn't nature beautiful?

Will April showers bring May flowers?

I most certainly hope so! I absolutely love flowers!

While I can only hope for flowers, I do know something else that April will bring:
Food for the hungry!

During the month of April, the Storehouse is doing a food drive to collect (non-perishable) food they can then distribute to those individuals and families in need.

And you can help! Even one or two cans of food can make an incredible difference.

Send your donations to:

The Storehouse Food Drive
1801 South Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616

...or email me to find out how I can help you give your donations!

Another great way to support the Storehouse: HelpfulBlankets! Check it out.

Enjoy the start of Spring, and be thankful for the wonderful things God has blessed you with!

If you have a charity you would like to spotlight on this blog, or even just have thoughts on ways to help people around you, I would love for you to email me!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Bit of Candy

photo from Candy Chang's blog post: Before I Die

As the day goes on, how often do you become overwhelmed by the multitude of things that need to be accomplished, people that need to be chatted with, emails that need to be answered? I am certain that the list each of us 'needs' to do would be enough to fill an entire blog post! In this day and age, time is no longer possible as a leisure (though that was the initial hope from mechanization of daily processes), but as a necessity to determine how profitable of a mover and go-er each person can be.

Everything moves so quickly!

Certainly, we love it when our machines mover quickly. Have you recently tried to use a computer built in 1990? It can be very frustrating, as you might expect it to move at the same speed you are trying to, which tends to be very fast for such an old computer.

Does this mean that we ought to move quickly through our lives, as well? Some might argue that there are too many things to be done, so it is not possible (financially or otherwise) to slow down.

I disagree. Time might keep going through the day and night, with the sun falling behind the distant horizon and the moon and stars becoming visible in all of their splendor, but that is no excuse to try and move time more quickly. Everything was created by God with a timing and a rhythm, in a way that is beyond our understanding of beautiful. Why else do you think that, after days upon days of running around, when you finally grab a small chance to relax, it feels as if a giant weight has been lifted from your shoulders? I would think that it is because you were fighting the beauty of your life's timing, so you had placed an unnecessary burden upon yourself to go against how you were made!

Focusing on what needs to be accomplished each day is certainly a helpful mindset. What, however, might come from focusing on what you want to accomplish in your lifetime? In the entire time you have to live?
Do you think you might stumble upon God's purpose for your life?
Would you then pursue it?

It is hard to live with the end in mind. It is even harder to encourage others to do the same.
While I do not profess to know her purpose, Candy Chang has created an incredible space amidst the sorrows of New Orleans in an attempt to help people focus on their dreams rather than their present problems. It is a beautiful project, and I would recommending checking it out.

In living where you are right now, surrounded by the same people every day, how could you encourage change? What project could you pursue to encourage others (along with yourself) to live with the end in mind? How could you help others find the purpose that God has for their life?
How might you help others believe they truly have a purpose?

Comment below or send me an email: I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, March 28, 2011

HB Update

Let me introduce you to my newest super-soft blanket: Mint Chocolate Stripes!

This beautifully delicious blanket is made of Caron Simply Soft yarn, in the colors Chocolate brown and Sage green. Delectable to the eye, it is an incredibly comfortable and very warm blanket!

This blanket is not yet finished, but I wanted to give my awesome blog friends a preview of what is to come! Be sure to check out HelpfulBlankets on Etsy. Look at the other colors available, request a blanket to fit your style, or patiently wait to snatch this blanket when it becomes available!*

Enjoy dreaming of a hand-made, super-soft blanket to curl up in!

*The Mint Chocolate Stripes blanket will be available by Tuesday, April 5, 2011.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Animal Love

My wonderful desert tortoise, Speedy!

Another interesting fact about me: One of my top three favorite animals are turtles! (I include tortoises in this statement for the sake of simplicity)
Case in point: I have two really awesome (and photogenic) desert tortoises as my pets!
[For those who know that desert tortoises are endangered, these tortoises were given freely after being hatched in captivity. The parents were removed from the desert many years before they were considered endangered. It is now illegal both to remove tortoises from their natural habitat and return to the wild tortoises bred in captivity. It is also illegal to sell desert tortoises.]

Knowing my love for tortoises might explain why I love this story so much!

To summarize, a baby hippo in Kenya was almost drowned due to a tsunami. Miraculously, it survived, but sadly lost its mother in the process. Upon returning to land, the baby hippo found a really old tortoise (about 100 years old) and somehow developed a friendship! The tortoise has essentially become the adopted "mother" of the baby hippo!

It's such an adorable story that I could not help but share!
Be sure to check out the link, as there as some incredibly adorable photos!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Walk MS 2011

A good friend of mine, Joel Meno, has decided to join Walk MS in an effort to raise money to benefit those individuals and their families affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis is a rather complex disease, mostly characterized by nerve damage due to an autoimmune disease. It is not currently known how genetics affects the appearance or progress of the disease. More information can be found on this site.

Right now, MS is considered a life-long disease, as there is no known cure. Not only will the donations for Walk MS be used to research MS in hopes of a cure, but they will be used to provide programs and services to help those directly affected by the difficulties of MS.

Any amount can help, so go ahead: be generous.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Being Helpful

Friends are like flowers, beautiful flowers. ~Unknown

In getting to know me better, I must confess one portion of my nerdiness:
I am absolutely fantastic at spelling!

And, aside from that, I just plain love learning new words!

You may be wondering what this has to do with being helpful (or the pretty picture of a flower).

I strongly believe that everyone has different gifts for a reason; and that, no matter how obscure, those gifts can be used for very good things!
In comes FreeRice: a website where you can learn new words and help end world hunger at the very same time!

Ending world hunger seems like a pretty immense goal. But just think: if everyone with access to the internet used FreeRice every day for just 100 grains of rice each, then the World Food Programme would have more rice than they have the manpower to deal with! (Assuming 3000 grains of rice in one "bowl" or meal, that would equal approximately 66 million meals a day! While that won't feed everyone, it's an incredible notion!)

It's definitely more beneficial than playing games on Facebook all day. ;-)

Have an awesome day, and enjoy learning new words!

What do you think is a good way to help others?

Leave a comment or message me with your thoughts and ideas!

Tip for the Day: Give a flower to someone you care about. Wildflower or bought from the store, you will bring happiness to their day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making Friends

This sad zebra wants to make a friend!
Hello, again!

So, now that you know what my blog is all about, I thought it might be good for you to get to know me -- the blog writer!

There are a few things I'm sure you've already noticed.
(1) I really, really like helping people. It's a passion, and a consistent desire, even if I'm not sure of the best way to go about it.
(2) I'm new to this blogging thing and have no idea what I'm doing! But I'm so excited that you are here with me to point me in the right direction. :-)

But, certainly, there are more things to find out about me than just those! I mean, if we are going to be spending almost every day together, you may as well know where my random thoughts are coming from.

(3) I get distracted ... really, really easily! I'm sure it will come out in my posts -- in due time. :-)
(4) Photography is my friend. [Did you notice the really cool zebra? He wants you to be his friend!]
(5) I absolutely love dancing! I mean it, I really do. I find it to be one of the most fun things there are to do with my time. Anything with a good beat -- be it salsa or hip-hop -- turn it on while I'm in the room and you'll know I'm not joking. First you'll see my foot start tapping, then my head start swaying, and pretty soon I'm up on my feet moving to the rhythm with a smile on my face. It's a good stress reliever, and an excellent workout!

Enjoy a stress free, music-filled day!

By the way, I'm not kidding about the dancing -- you should try it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Start of a Dream

Welcome to my little slice of blogging life!

I'm just starting out on this adventure, and I would love to share with you what it's all about!
Right now I am in the process of finishing up my four years of college at Illinois Institute of Technology. That's four years that I've spent undeniably close to downtown Chicago.

Have you ever been to downtown Chicago during winter? I'm not just talking about walking around by the shops. Have you ever seen the large number of homeless men and women who sit bundled in 10 blankets, living on a strip of concrete next to the underground road called Lower Wacker, just trying to stay warm.
My freshman year, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on my campus gathered clothing and food donations. We went downtown to hand these items out in person, to those people who sat bundled up with no place to call home. It was a really moving experience.

Over the last year, however, I have come to realize that the homeless of Chicago are not the only people in great need. There are countless men, women and children who hardly have enough money for food, clothing or medical help. I have been inspired by a church called The Storehouse.

The Storehouse is a church currently led by Pastor Mike (Michael Miller), and is working to expand its impact in the community. The outreach of this church not only focuses on spiritual growth, but on physically helping those in need. The Storehouse is currently in the process of moving to a new location in order to better provide for those in need, right where they need it. Through the new building, they will be able to provide professional counseling, a health clinic and pharmacy, and aid from a Social Service agency.

This blog, and my new Etsy shop ( are my little way of bringing attention and help to this church and the community of Chicago. For every item sold from HelpfulBlankets on Etsy, 100% of the profits will be donated to the Storehouse.

This is my crazy adventure, and I hope you will join  me!