On the 6th Day of Christmas…

The holiday season is a time for giving. We give time as well as gifts to family, friends, and others in our lives. But, it is also important to give to those we don’t know and celebrate the real meaning of the season. All ages can contribute their time by giving back to their community. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time, even the smallest project can make an impact. Need some ideas for giving back? Read below. 

• Visit a nursing home: This can be done as a family or with a group. Make cards and decorations beforehand and take them with you to give to the residents. Also, bring some holiday cheer by singing a few carols while there. Be sure to call ahead and schedule your visit. 
• Volunteer at a homeless shelter: When I was in elementary school, my Girl Scout troop volunteered at the Salvation Army shelter during December. We helped serve dinner, talked with the residents, and then sang Christmas carols. In addition, we brought bags filled with snacks, toiletries, and gloves and socks to pass out. Looking back this was one of my favorite memories of giving back during the holidays. Take some time and visit your local homeless shelter. Help with a meal or make bags to hand out.Personalize these care kits to the different types of shelters. For example, add more products for women if you are taking them to a woman’s shelter and don’t forget to include something for the kids. Want to make it resemble the holidays more? Fill a stocking with granola bars, water bottles, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, socks and gloves.
• Donate to a food bank: During the holiday season, this act of kindness is one of the most common, but yet is still in great demand, especially after the holidays. Take your kids to the grocery store and let them pick out the nonperishable goods to donate to your local food bank or ministry with a food pantry. Also, pick up some toiletries to include with your donation
• Send Christmas cards to deployed soldiers or to your local veterans hospitalThis simple act goes a long way. Be creative and create homemade Christmas cards for soldiers overseas and fore veterans at the veterans hospital. These cards will help them remember that people are thinking about them and their sacrifices for our country during the holidays. You can also prepare a care package to send with the cards. There are several organizations that help soldiersreceive the packages, such as Support Our Troops and Holiday Mail for Heroes. 
• Cook and bake: Cooking a meal or baking cookies is a great gesture to say thank-you to the various people in our lives. Prepare a casserole to freeze or a crockpot meal for your neighbors in need or take a meal to the employees at the police department, fire station, or EMS workers. Don’t want to do a meal? Bake cookies and sweets to give to neighbors, teachers, librarians, post office works, your mailman, and many more. 
• Deliver hot chocolate to the Salvation Army bell ringers: It can be cold standing outside stores, ringing the bells for a good cause. But you can make things warmer by bringing them hot chocolate. Make a batch and fill a thermos with the chocolate drink. Then, take cups and deliver the snack to the volunteers at various stores. In addition, bake some holiday cookies to take with you. 
• Clean out the toy box and closet: If there is a toy your child hasn’t played with in a while or a coat you haven’t worn in years, donate it to a local shelter or toy and coat drive. Someone will appreciate being able to give their child a gift this season or have something warm to wear when the weather gets cooler. Also, gather items for an angel on the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree or the holiday stocking drives. 

 

Whatever way you choose to give back, know you are making a difference in a person’s life. Yes, the holidays are a busy time, but there is always time to remember the reason for the season. 

xoxo,

Megan

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11 Tips for Better Self-Care

selfcare

Recently, I have discovered the value of self-care. In the past few years, I did things that I considered to be self-care, but never truly understood the importance of taking care of yourself. Yes, I love to help others, but to effectively do so, I need to make sure I’m healthy and able first. Also, it is helpful for me to divide my self-care into “categories” of physical, mental, and emotional. That way, I can make sure all areas are covered. Below are some ways to fit self-care into your daily schedule:

Physical: 

  • Go for a walk
  • Dance
  • Swim
  • Play with a dog
  • Clean and reorganize a space in your home
  • Take a relaxing bath
  • Drink water

Mental: 

  • Read a book
  • Journal
  • Turn your phone OFF
  • Do a DIY project
  • Color
  • Take pictures
  • Take a long, deep breath
  • Watch an old movie

Emotional: 

  • Meditate
  • Practice yoga or exercise
  • Light a candle
  • Talk with a friend
  • Write down a list of things you’re grateful for
  • Take a nap
  • Bake cookies for a family member or friend
  • Donate or volunteer

Whether it is an hour or only five minutes, take time for yourself every day. Sometimes you have to make yourself a priority, in order to be a better person for the ones you loved.

xoxo,

Megan

Giving Back with a Bruised Heart

It seems as if I should provide a somewhat disclaimer. The next few upcoming posts are going to be a little heavy with emotion and meaning. I’ll throw in a few lighthearted posts in between to change the mood, but sometimes I like to discuss more serious topics and start conversations every now and then.

This past week has been very stressful and hard for my family. We are right now dealing with a family member’s health issues and trying to keep it all, along with other things, in balance. You see, when your family goes through stressful times, you lean on each other and sometimes, not meaning to, take the stress out on each other. This past Friday night, my mom and I had a huge fight, probably the biggest ever. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, I’m telling you this because I’m human and things happen. Let’s just say that fight was long and took a great deal out of me. Well, the next morning, I was supposed to be up at 6:30 am and go help work on a house for Habitat for Humanity. A group from the magazine I write for was volunteering. I knew it was going to be a fun time, helping a great cause. But, you know what? After Friday night’s fight and the stressful week, building a house wasn’t one top of my fun list.

6:30 Saturday morning, my alarm went off. By then, my mom and I were on better terms. So, I put on make-up, got dress, and out the door I went. And now, I’m glad I did.

Saturday ended up being a great day! I’m always one for volunteering and helping others in the community. However, sometimes it can be hard to give back when things in your life aren’t going so well. But, during the hard times, giving back can be one of the best things you can do. When I left the job site that afternoon, I felt confident and empowered. I felt better about myself because I knew I helped work on a house that will soon be a loving home for a family in my community. In addition, I made memories with my friends that will last forever. We laughed, we talked, and we worked hard. Our task was to finish the siding on the outside of the house. At first, I thought “there is no way.” But then, little by little, our team finished the job and learned a new skill in the meantime.

Let me tell you friends, giving back in your community is a powerful thing, no matter what is happening in your life. You’ll be happy to know things are fine between my mom and I and if you ever need someone to put siding on your house, I’m the person to call 🙂

xoxo,

Megan

Love Thy Neighbor

I, like most of the world, am trying to wrap my head around Tuesday’s horrific shooting of three students in Chapel Hill, NC. I just can’t fathom how someone can have so much anger and hatred to the point they take the lives of fellow humans.

Chapel Hill is no more than an hour away from me. I have friends who attend UNC Chapel Hill, NC State University, and are Muslim. This scary situation has impacted them in ways I can’t imagine nor will be able to fully understand. As a female Caucasian Christian, the term “prejudice” is a little bit foreign to me. I know what prejudice is and the actions that comes with the word, but the only prejudice I have experienced is from being a woman.

You might be wondering where I’m going with this. Well, here we go:

No one, regardless of their gender, religion, or race, should be targeted and mistreated. Growing up, I was taught the golden rule “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Seems as if the world needs to be reminded of this rule.

If each of us within this world does one act of kindness each day, think about how many people would be impacted? There’s over seven billion people, meaning there would be over seven billion acts of kindness. Reach out to those you love and reach out to strangers on the street. Do whatever you would like, but make sure it’s positively impacting mankind.

All lives matter. All people deserve the best and to be treated fairly. Love thy neighbor.

xoxo,

Megan

Fighting for a Cause

For the past few nights, I have been glued to the History channel, watching Sons of Liberty. This three part mini-series tells the story of our founding fathers coming together, fighting British rule, and creating the Declaration of Independence. Even though, I knew the outcome of these events and the Revolutionary War, I sat there in suspense as the years 1775-1776 played out on the t.v. screen.

Early American history has always been a favorite of mine. What caught my eye about this mini-series was that Sam Adams, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington, and Paul Revere all knew their actions could cost them their lives, but yet, they believed so strongly in a cause, these men risked it all.

Have you ever believed so strongly in a cause, you were willing to risk it all? Not many of us probably have. Those men saw the advantages of creating a new nation and the advantages for generations to come. Think about some of the causes you are passionate about. How would fighting for those causes make it better for generations to come?

Country singer Dierks Bentley’s ‘Home’ describes just how America was born and the bravery our founding fathers and the colonists had to “chase that dream across the sea…sign their names for something they believed”…and go to war.

239 years later, this is still the place we all call home. In 2254, 239 years from today, will you be remembered for fighting for a cause?

xoxo,

Megan

This I Dream

We all have dreams. Some of us dream about making a million dollars, some of us dream about becoming president, and some dream of curing a disease.

While at Target yesterday, I saw a man sitting on a bench, outside the store. Also, sitting on the bench was everything he owned. After visiting another store, I saw the man carrying all of his possessions in his arms, walking alongside the road. Walking to where? That I don’t know. I kept thinking of ways to help him, but I knew I could do little.

I share this story, because, if you ask me about my dreams, the list would go on and on. However, I do dream that:

1: Every human and animal have a place to call home.

2: Every human and animal have enough to eat for three meals a day.

3: Every human will have clothes to wear on sunny, cold, or stormy days.

4: Every human will be considered equal and not judged based on their race or gender.

5: There will be peace throughout the world.

This I dream.

xoxo,

Megan