All thoughts expressed are honest and my own.
I am so excited to be a part in sharing about the Bakken Invitation sponsored by Medtronic! When I first heard about this, I felt a great connection, since one: I have overcome or am still overcoming physical and health obstacles, so I definitely felt like I could really relate to this year's Honorees, especially Joan Talkowsky of Tel-Aviv, Israel.
Before we talk more about Joan, let me share what the Bakken Invitation is. This award is given to ten people from all over the world who have overcome major health problems with the help of medical technology and who choose to help their communities despite the challenges they face. Wow, right?! It leaves me in awe how they might be feeling pain, depression or fatigue, but still make time and push themselves to not let their health issues come in the way of them giving back to their communities and living on with pure intent, happiness and a great sense of self. I should also note how each honoree not only gets to share their story but they also receive a $20,000 grant toward their volunteer efforts!! Amazing! All ten of this year's honorees are truly wonderful people who live on and give on. I love all of their words of wisdom of helping and leading positive lives!
Joan used to give her time at a hospital in New Jersey, helping "boarder babies"; babies who were born with drugs in their system. Soon after, she started feeling exhausted and out of breathe. Come to find out, she need a pacemaker asap! Since having that placed, she moved back to Israel where she volunteers her time translating for Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which assists poor populations in Israel. She lives by the deep meaning phrase, "Tikkun olam", which in the Jewish religion means "repairing the world."
I am really inspired by Joan and her efforts. I love how she helps to repair the world, even after going through a hard time in her life that could have been fatal, but thanks to receiving a pacemaker, she proves that to, "take one little step out of your immediate circle," can be so fulfilling and life changing. Not only for herself but for the ones receiving help.
I also LOVE giving back when I can and I am grateful to be ABLE to help in the ways that I can.
I don't want to hear excuses from anyone about not helping others, their communities (no matter how great or terrible you think where you live is), or even your family or friends. YOU have the power to act. You have the power to help.
Here are five suggestions that you could give back and I definitely want to help more when it comes to tip number four! (new year's resolution, anyone?)
1//Give of yourself.
It can be as simple as sharing a smile with the grocery store clerk, or paying it forward at a Wendy's drive-thru. While at the grocery store and you see a parent juggling items in their hands and they drop something, go pick it up! No act of service, of giving yourself, is too small. I know it sounds so cliche that you can make a difference. That you may feel that what you can do, what you can give doesn't seem like enough...but you're wrong! It is enough. You are enough. You are amazing, wherever you're sitting or standing reading this very blog post, you are destined for greatness.
Sometimes I believe the lie that I am insignificant or that because of my limited abilities, I can't help that much. Yes, I may not be able to help in the ways I desire, but that doesn't stop me from helping in a way I CAN. And those ways I can are more than enough. It brings me great pleasure to know (sometimes much later, sometimes never) that I made someone else's life easier, better or happier. You can't tell me you haven't felt that pure peace and joy before? And if you can't, then get on it because I promise your heart will have the warm fuzzies and you'll be smiling!
2//Rescue an animal from a shelter.
Often times, I see some friends on my facebook page rave about their new dog or puppy they bought from a pet store. Blah! Please! A little research goes a long way. Rescuing a precious pup or cat you can cozy up with not only saves their life but also brings joy and warmth and probably laughter to your home! Here in the valley of Arizona where I live, the no-kill shelters/rescues as well as the humane society are almost always filled to capacity. In order to reduce their numbers (not talking euthanizing) and help make more room for more abandoned or found pets, people need to adopt, adopt, adopt! By purchasing dogs from most pet stores, people are supporting puppy mills, where mama dogs and their babies are subject to terrible treatment and living conditions! Unimaginable!
3//Use your talents for good.
This past June, I got involved with the Southern California Bulldog Rescue via social media and helped raised money for their rescue! How I did that was I handmade greeting cards which were up for the online auction. I made the cards using scrapbook supplies and my creative mind! All monies pledged went directly to the rescue to help pay for medical costs, food or supplies (like a bed or collar) for the super cute bulldogs. I had never done something like that before and it made me feel so good to be able to contribute to a cause so dear to my heart: animal rescue! (if you couldn't tell by now haha).
4// Get involved in your community.
There are plenty of places where you could volunteer. A place where you fit right in. If you love babies, you could volunteer, like Joan, at a hospital. Maybe the homeless are near to your heart? You could organize a blanket drive or assemble ziplock bags of necessities which could include (a bar of soap, baby wipes, toothbrush/toothpaste, a couple granola bars, and tissue). I've been wanting to do that last idea!
5//Be a good neighbor or friend.
Have you ever noticed your neighbors? Or know of elderly people at your church? I bet you some might struggle with doing their yard work, finding transportation to a doctor's appointment, even going grocery shopping or needing a babysitter. By becoming aware of who lives next you or sits next to you at church, you have the opportunity to lend a helping hand. Just think of how relieving your help can be to those who need, who if it weren't for you, they'd be stuck in a bind!
What inspires you to give back? Go on and tell me how YOU will go on out and serve your community with the $100 prepaid Visa giftcard that Medtronic has provided! Your comment will serve as your entry for this giveaway.
*Giveaway ends on Decemeber 30, 2014.
Must be 18 years old to enter.
U.S. Residents only please.
One winner will be randomly selected.
Medtronic is responsible for prize fulfillment.
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