Monthly Archives: July 2015

Yellow Butterflies….still telling me something!

iirp

Yellow Butterflies are my good luck sign. I have written about them many times. I found this today when I did a search on the meaning.

“The butterfly is a reminder to make changes when the opportunity arises. Change and transformation are inevitable for us all, but it does not have to be traumatic.”

My change is occurring now…as I begin my first online education class to further my education…something I have been hesitant to do until now. One reason was because I didn’t know if I was up to the challenge but also, because I really just didn’t know what I wanted to do to move ahead in my career. I had thought about Special Education and Speech Therapy, but wasn’t inspired enough to go ahead with it. In May, I was invited by my school district to participate in a two day Restorative Justice/Practices seminar. Restorative Practices is,

“a field of study that has the potential to positively influence human behavior and strengthen civil society around the world. The IIRP Graduate School’s aim, as suggested by Albert Einstein in a speech in 1936, “is the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service of the community their highest life problem.” (International Institute of Restorative Practices)

Before the seminar, I had never heard of Restorative Practices. I wasn’t sure what it was about or how it worked. After the two day workshop, I wanted to learn more and this past weekend, I was able to take the  last two courses in the seminar. They were held in Bethlehem, Pa and now I am even more convinced that this is what I want to do!  The idea of restoring relationships, building positive attitudes, a solid community, decreasing crime and overall improve human behavior…it is everything I hope to do! It is as if this was developed for me! My biggest fear now is the online courses. I haven’t taken a college course in more than 20 years and online is so different than in person! I was told that this first course is quite intense and as I peruse the website and all an online course includes, I find myself getting a bit intimidated. I am taking one course. If it goes well – more will follow.  If not, and I realize this is jut not for me, at least I can say that I tried. As I was doubting myself though, on my walk with Emmy Lou, this yellow butterfly showed up as if it was telling me that I have to at least try.

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Mom’s Things

meant to be

Today would have been a “big” birthday for my mom. She would have turned 70 years old today.  When I was a kid, I used to think 70 was so old but not so much anymore. Last night, we all went to my dad’s and ordered Chinese food (her favorite.) Today, we will release yellow balloons from her bench.

My dad has a hard time with change. He hasn’t let any of us move her things. This includes clothing from her closet and drawers. He is also a “saver” and all of our bedrooms are still filled with lots of “stuff.” Not just his stuff, all of our stuff.  My sister Kathi and I have the least there but both of us had a few things to get rid of. My brothers, although both live on their own, have their bedrooms almost exactly the way they were when they lived there.

My sister and her family have fallen on tough times financially and are going to be moving in with my dad for awhile, until they can get back on their feet.  This means, the five bedroom home – the very “filled” five bedroom home – needed to be cleared out immediately.

We finally convinced my dad to let us clear out my mom’s closet. Promising we would donate all of her clothing, shoes and bags and then, move all of her formal dresses that are in Kathi’s and my closet, (there are a lot them,) into the closet in the master  bedroom. The dresses were one thing he wasn’t ready to part with. Gowns from our weddings and special events they attended. We all understood and began purging.

My mom, who was a very simple woman, (she didn’t care about labels or names,) had SOOOOOO much in her closets, it filled two industrial sized blag trash bags and four boxes! That doesn’t even include all of the purses and bags, (Fendi, Gucci, Coach,) some of which I had never even seen since so many had never been used. Kathi and I each found a few that we kept for ourselves and we decided to try to sell the bags on a local swap page and the interest has been huge. I had no idea there was such demand for these “old, yet new” bags.

We gathered so many shoes and clothes, we needed to get them out of the house immediately because we couldn’t just leave those bags and boxes. We had divided them into bags with bag with “nearly new or brand new items” in some and one of “mom worn” items.  She was notorious for spilling on herself so those went into a different bag to drop off at a collection box.  There was so much collected, that DJ and I decided to take a ride and bring them, to the local church that was having a rummage sale and drop the other bag into the donation box.

When we got to the church, there was a sign on the doors saying, “No More Donations!” I didn’t want to put it all in a donation box because I have heard that a lot of that stuff just gets shredded rather than donated. I couldn’t imagine that! There were brand new clothes with tags on some of it! We decided to drive over to our own church where there are two collection boxes.

I let myself be naive enough to believe that the sign on saying it would go to Catholic Charities meant it just might be given to people rather than be shredded.  DJ and I unloaded the heavy boxes and bags and started to stuff them into the bins. The bins were so full, we couldn’t even get one bagful in. We tore open one of the bags and tried to put things in one piece at a time. We were only able to get one bag emptied and that was it. Not another stitch of clothing was getting in there.

DJ and I joked that mom was trying to send us a message; either she didn’t want us giving away her things, or she wanted us to “share the wealth,” so off we headed to another donation box in town. Problem was that box was gone. We kept driving and got to the donation box I had thought of first for the one bag of clothing in the worst condition.

As we started emptying the bags and boxes – which were too big to fit, once again, we had to take them apart to throw the clothing in one piece at a time. The handle of the donation bin kept jamming. Jamming up, jamming down….we couldn’t help but laugh. It took much longer than expected but we got it all in.

I kept apologizing to mom as I threw things into the bin. DJ kept asking why. He didn’t think she’d have minded and he is probably right.  She was probably laughing right along with us.

Feeding So Many

feed just one

A few days ago, I read on Facebook that one of our local food pantries was in dire need of donations for the upcoming weekend’s food handouts.  The shelves were nearly bare.  The post shared by many in our community, “went viral!” Well, as viral as it can go in our two towns, but the response was huge and the pantry shelves were filled in just a few days.

Unfortunately, after Saturday’s handouts, those shelves will be empty again.

After the Facebook thank yous and a celebration of a job well done, someone in one of the groups where it was first shared, suggested that a Facebook page be created for just this need.

I decided to take it on. With the help from a few friends, “Feed SOMany” was created. Our two towns are, South Orange and Maplewood, (SOM).  Dave came up with the clever name. I have to give him credit for that one! He’s creative with that sort of thing. Much more than I am!

The idea of the group, is to keep people informed of the needs of each pantry. To announce food drives around town and to let others know of collection dates for each pantry. Sometimes, all it takes is a small reminder and the goal of this group is to do just that!

One woman posted this morning, that Shop Rite is holding its Can Can Sale right now. A perfect time to stock up on those most needed staple items. Exactly what this group has been created for.

Summer is rough for food pantries but people are still hungry. People still need to be fed. A few extra food items in your shopping cart each week, dropped off to the pantries can really help.

If you are a resident of South Orange Maplewood, or a surrounding area, join the group. If not, maybe start your own because no one should ever have to go hungry.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/463276867187178/