Monday, January 30, 2012

Learning: Being Helpful

What does it really mean to be helpful?

Today, I helped some beautiful dogs not feel lonely, and get a chance to play outside while they wait to be adopted into loving families.

What about being helpful towards people?

I honestly believe there are countless ways to be helpful towards others. Some people need help financially, and being helpful to them can mean giving food, shelter or money. It could also mean spending time to look over their finances with them, and helping to plan a budget. It could mean training them (in your area of expertise) to help in their job search.

Others need help spiritually, emotionally, in the area of self discipline, relationally -- the list goes on. As do the ways to help.

Sometimes, even something as 'small' as sitting with someone can be helping.

How have you been helpful today?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Volunteering: Day 2!

Today was my second day volunteering at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, and I am happy to report that most of the ice has melted from the trails that we take the dogs on!

I volunteer once a week for only two hours, but everyone (even the dogs!) are so appreciative of even that little bit of time. It's really a great atmosphere for volunteer work!

This morning I misjudged my timing, so I arrived almost 15 minutes early. That's ok, though! That means I got to hang out with even more adorable dogs! I spent my (just over) two hours with five fun-loving dogs: Snookie, Paulie, Wilson, Snoop and Forest. They are so great!

Wilson is an adorable black lab who just loves to hang out! He was a little bit of a jumper, and was so sad when the walk was over, but he was really well behaved once we got outside on the trail! Paulie looked like a mix between a chihuahua and a pug, and weighed about the same as the leash I had chosen. (I use a leash that can double as a harness to help slow down the pullers!) It was a definite change of pace to have such a little dog to walk!

Snookie was the most adventurous outside -- he sniffed absolutely everything! He also really enjoyed rubbing himself in the dirt. No wonder my pants were dirty when I got home! Forest was fun to walk as well, but mostly because I was amazed at how well he could! Forest only has three legs (he's missing his right front leg), but is just as fun and adventurous (and strong!) as the other dogs. He is also incredibly loving and loves to give kisses!

Snoop couldn't go outside with me, so I just sat with him in his little 'condo' inside. He injured one of his legs, and came to the Humane Society because his owner couldn't afford the vet bills to help him. It was a nice break from being pulled around by a leash. ;-) He enjoyed just sitting on my lap and being petted, and even fell asleep once!

I am definitely tired after two hours of dog-walking, but it is so much fun!

Don't forget that I am giving away four prayer shawls ... first come, first serve! Request one today!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Seeking Inspiration: Prayer

A new masterpiece for my shop! © Jessica Van Eaton
Recently, it seems like everyone I know to is going through some sort of struggle - whether it's in their own lives, or the lives of people they care about. It's astounding how easy it is to be overwhelmed with the difficulties we can face in this world. They never seem to end! (they just change, really)

I saw this post while meandering the internet a few days ago, and I found it to be a beautiful idea. I have just recently designed a few shawls that are soft, cuddly, and relatively light (not too warm, really, which is nice for wearing indoors!) and I really feel called to make these beautiful shawls with intentionality.

You choose the color and size! (Child/S/M/L) © Jessica Van Eaton
I would absolutely love to make my shawls into prayer shawls, but I find it so much easier to pray when I know what I am praying for!

Do you know someone who needs to be comforted by a loving prayer? Tell me what you can about their life and their struggles, and I will joyfully pray for them while making a beautiful shawl designed just for them!

I feel so strongly about pursuing this prayer-filled avenue of crochet that I want to offer a special gift. For the first four shawls that I am asked to make, I ask only that you pay for shipping (either to you or to the recipient). This is a gift that I know will be a wonderful blessing!

If you want to leave a comment requesting a shawl, please only provide basic information to help me know the timing of the first four shawls. I would prefer that these transactions be completed more privately (discretion for the sake of the recipient), either through the email on my profile page, my Facebook account, or through the Contact option on my ColorMeCrochet Etsy shop. Thank you for your cooperation!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Volunteering: Day 1!

Today was my very first day (with the exception of training last week) volunteering at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, located in Boulder, Colorado. It was a lot of fun!

I must be honest, though: it was also quite tiring! Most of my volunteer time is spent taking the dogs outside on trails, to give them a chance to run around and forget about the indoor enclosures they have to stay in while waiting for new homes. My first dog, Bullwinkle, weighed slightly over half of me, and definitely enjoyed using his weight to pull me around! Clapping, calling, sweet-talking, and even treats did little to convince him to walk alongside me (or at least slower!). Needless to say, my hands are quite raw, especially since it was about 35F outside.

Despite the adventure of being pulled across patches of ice (and thankfully not falling!), and nearly being trapped in his enclosure once inside (he was so adamant to come with me that I couldn't open the gate back up! The first time I tried, he found his way past me, and I had to coerce him back in), it was a ton of fun. Really, and truly, it was great spending time with the dogs! I got to take three beautiful dogs outside for some fun: Bullwinkle, Alli and Sadie. Maybe next time I'll be able to snap a photo show you the bundles of joy I get to play with! (So long as they don't cover my camera in fur ... like they did to my clothes)

I am definitely looking forward to helping out again next week!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Etsy: More Changes

Last year I said that I would be donating from HelpfulBlankets on Etsy to the Emergency Family Assistance in Boulder, Colorado.

Unfortunately, I did not do my part in researching this group, which I had said that I would do. I also said that I would volunteer in some way to further include myself and my customers in the celebration of each way this group is helping those in need. I have neglected to do that, as well, and for that I apologize to anyone who was hoping I would follow through.

This last December I finally sold not one, but two of my blankets! I am so stoked to have my blankets being used and appreciated, and look forward to making more. However, because of these sales, I have been forced to contemplate who the donations will be going to. I want to do the most good with what I have been given!

I know that I have not been putting all of my time and effort into my companies, but that will be changing as this year starts off.

I have been (unintentionally) swayed to again change who the donations will be going to. This past weekend I met a woman to works at (and loves working for) the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, located in Boulder, Colorado. She has volunteered and worked there in the past, and is now in charge of a bakery program designed to bring proceeds into the shelter. She really loves what she does, and mentioned that the creation of the bakery program was due to a decrease in funding for the shelter. I want to help change that. The shelter seems to be doing great work in the area, and I am excited to learn more about it as we go forward!

I will also be changing the donation amount to 70%, minus the cost of materials and shipping. I believe this amount will help cover the cost of any blankets that are donated directly to those in need, and will give me more freedom to experiment with my blankets.

Thank you for reading my long update! :-)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!

My brother's new kitty. © Jessica Van Eaton
What a wonderful way to spend the holidays - on vacation and with family!

These past two weeks have been absolutely wonderful. We saw my parents, my brother and his wife, my sister-in-law and her husband and four daughters, and all sorts of friends! It has certainly been a whirlwind (I crashed into bed the moment we arrived home!) filled with too many plane flights, but every adventure is worth the legwork of travel!

This Christmas season had a few firsts for my husband and me. We shared our first Christmas and New Years as a married couple! It was great. :-) It was also a first for my husband, in that it was his first time being away from Colorado for Christmas. It was rather strange for him, actually, as we were in Florida! The warm weather and scenery filled with palm trees seemed a little odd to him around Christmastime, but it was wonderful to be able to play on the beach! We even had the blessing of being able to visit Sea World! (so much fun!)

We spent New Years in Pennsylvania, and had pretty nice weather, with a touch of snow the night before we left. The town we stayed in was pretty small, but the rural quality made the whole area quite charming and beautiful. There are so many trees! We have decided that we need to have some sort of road trip through the north-east states during fall, to see all of the beautiful colors.

What fun adventures did you have this Christmas and New Years?

Did you make any New Years resolutions?

It's okay if you didn't. ... I didn't either!

I just know this year is going to be great!!