Tag: helping others

Sprinkle kindness everywhere!

Sprinkle kindness everywhere!

It’s been a great month because kindness is floating around everywhere.  From kindness days at my high school to the amazing night I had when I went to speak to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) group in Carbondale.  It was such a pleasure to meet and interact with such a lovely group of women who are dedicated to making their community and the world a better place for others.  I felt honored to be invited to speak to them about my Backpacks for Success project and my passion for giving back and helping others.

Backpacks for Success is a community project that I started so that I could give back to students that cannot afford backpacks and basic school supplies.  This is the third year I’ve coordinated it and each year it seems to get bigger and bigger.  This group was phenomenal to speak with because they do so many amazing things in the community.  In fact, one of the coolest parts that I learned that evening is I actually had the grandson of the women who invited me to speak in my one of my classes at the high school.  Small world!

Lastly, kindness days at the high school were fun, but the best thing about it is the door that my mom helped me create to correlate with our kindness message.  We created a door that emphasized what I think it important – sprinkling and spreading kindness everyday to as many people as possible.  Help make the world better by doing one random act of kindness at a time.  Happy 2019 – may you embark on my #ProjectKindnessBook challenge and spread more kindness where you live!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Is it possible to add more to your plate?

Is it possible to add more to your plate?

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There’s so much to be said about making it to the other end of the tunnel at the end of the year, at least most teachers can relate to this!  I loved every minute of being back at my old high school as a teacher.  It was a new challenge, a new learning experience, and more than that a new way to give back to my community and the people in it.  I must say not only did I survive happily through the exhaustion, chaos, and craziness of the school year, but I managed to do a few side projects as well.  After all, life is supposed to by crazy busy, right?!

I finished my #ProjectKindnessBook which is titled Giving Back: Lessons from an adopted immigrant on why a happy life is about helping others, eloped to Ireland, and coordinated a backpack drive in my local community to help students in need.  I was so excited to have lots of my own projects to do this summer including sort pictures, which has been on my ‘to do’ list for ages.  And, then I was asked to serve as the community member for the SIU Carbondale Homecoming Committee which is where I do a lot of my volunteer work aside from other misc. volunteer projects I get myself roped up in!  I pondered it for the night, curiously cautious about whether I wanted to give more free time.  A lot of it over summer.  I thought to myself how the heck can I be signing up to give my time to another project?  It’s summer and I need to catch up on MY life. And then, I realized just how extremely selfish that is and was to think.  I have so much more than the average person and the ability and control to always add more too my plate if I prioritize my projects correctly and use my time wisely.  And, you have that same exact power!  You can add more to your plate than you probably ever thought or realized.  You can seek projects to get involved, find ways to give back by fulfilling disparities within your community, and realizing that life is bigger than you and your life, but about what you can do for others.  At the moment, I felt like I needed some rest and relaxation after being a full-time beginning teacher, being newly married, writing a book, and then I remembered that my rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation in life comes from giving back and doing things for others in my ‘spare’ time.  I use spare time loosely because I don’t seem to allow too much of that in my life.  (Though, don’t let me deceive you, I plan on having a few fun days this summer with family and friends, enjoying the local wineries, and spending time with my husband – who usually helps along with the crazy projects I commit to and doesn’t get annoyed by all the extra time I spend doing things for others.)

The moral of the story isn’t that I make myself do good things or make myself give back or make myself have a passion for my community.  It isn’t that I am this phenomenal person who is selfless.  It’s just that giving back has become second nature to me in life.  I have gotten so used to it being part of my life and who I am.  It’s become my passion.  I challenge you to join me with your pictures of giving back.  Use these when you tag your pictures: #BeKind, #GiveBack, #HelpOthers, and #ProjectKindnessBook.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Respect, Kindness, & Tolerance…this Christmas season!

Respect, Kindness, & Tolerance…this Christmas season!

I am finishing a book that I can’t wait to share with everyone because it revolves around helping others, kindness, and giving back.  This has inspired me to share a post about respect, kindness, and tolerance which I think is especially important and critical to remember during the Christmas season.  Christmas while fun is often a time of stress for many.  It can be stressful to prepare for all the holiday festivities and parties, expensive to buy presents for everyone on your list, and it can be emotional or sad for those that have loved ones that are no longer here to celebrate with them.

As we move into this season of giving I hope we can also be mindful of those around us.  While we may have different views, religious beliefs, and even traditions I hope that each person remembers to be respectful, kind, and tolerant of others.  We don’t have to share the same views, go to the same church, or have the same traditions to be diplomatic, respectful, kind, and tolerant.  That means we wish each other well and say, “Merry Christmas” to all.

This may seem like a simple post or even a “non health” related post, but in actuality it is a post that focuses on our spiritual, emotional, and social well-being.  We accept others for who they are, we reach out to others to say “Merry Christmas” to include all, and we remember that different Christmas celebrations is what makes the world so beautiful.

So I challenge you to embrace each other through respect, kindness, and tolerance this Christmas season!  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night (and year)!

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Believe in yourself and you shall achieve!

Believe in yourself and you shall achieve!

It’s been a long time since I have had the chance to write, to inspire, to motivate, to share fitness advice, and engage with readers.  I am excited to have the opportunity (and time) to make this a priority again.  After all, helping others is a passion, a goal, and a dream.

I haven’t been conscientious about fitness, nutrition, health, and wellness my whole life.  In fact, I actually didn’t care about it at all in high school and weighed about fifteen to twenty pounds more than I do now.  I didn’t care about working out, taking rest breaks to clear my mind, or eating fruits and veggies.  Once I graduated from high school and started college, I realized I needed a way to clear my mind and relieve stress.  I also wanted to develop healthy habits that I would carry with me through life.  That’s when I changed my life and started working out as my personal way of clearing my mind, de-stressing, and making my workout “me” time.  I changed my life.  I changed my future. I developed a workout schedule, nutrition habits, and maintained a routine that would fit my lifestyle.

During this time, I tried several different types of exercise and different workout schedules to figure out what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what I thought worked best for me.  First, I started working out at my house.  I would go on jogs outside each day or jump rope.  It was an effective (and cheap) workout and made me feel better once I was done.  Eventually I bought a treadmill and usually ran five to ten miles each day.  I liked this because I could fit it in when it was convenient and I didn’t have to think about the weather.  I stuck with that for a long time, probably a few years. I got bored with the treadmill and wanted a change in pace.  I decided I would start going to a gym rather than working out at home.  I started using the bike, elliptical, row machine, and occasionally the treadmill along with the weight machines.  I got much more variety which was great.

Then, one day I started experiencing pain in my shins and ankles.  I went to an athletic trainer and physical therapist to see what I had done that was causing me to feel pain.  They said the machine use was causing rubbing on my joints so I started nine weeks of physical therapy to help loosen up my body, joints, and muscles.  It started to help, but the physical therapists suggested lessening my machine use as that can often be hard on your joints.  It was back to the thinking board.  I decided to invest in fitness DVDs and workouts (which are very expensive I might add)!  This allowed me to workout from home, let me do my workout whenever it fit into my schedule, made me be accountable, and forced me to use my own body weight during the workouts.  I found that when I did workout at a gym it was easy to change my fitness days or routine.  I could easily skip the stop at the gym causing me to rotate a workout day or two during the week.  The fitness DVDs helped to fix that problem!  I always had the DVDs at my fingertips and could do my workout at my convenience – no excuses!

So, you might be thinking she just rambled on and on about working out from home, working out from a gym, having sore joints, etc.  The point being that sometimes fitness changes over time. Sometimes you are completely dedicated (like I am now) or completely not interested like I was in high school, BUT it is never too late to start making changes to lead a healthier lifestyle.  Small changes, large changes, or just adding more changes that will help you sustain your lifestyle.  You might start working out at your house, as I did, then change to a gym, and then end up back at your house, in a fitness club, or creating your own walking group, etc.

Regardless of what you choose is best for you, there are always resources and people that can help you achieve your fitness goals.  You can find resources all over the web, there are cookbooks and exercise books everywhere, but one of the most important things you can do for yourself to further your health journey is believe in yourself.  In life, whatever your goals are personally or professionally, you have to take your goals and believe in them, own them, have a strong passion for them, and make them part of you.  That’s part of succeeding in fitness, health, nutrition, and wellness (and in life).  Own up to what you put in your mouth, challenge yourself to a workout, and remember to focus on your goals.  If you can do that, you can do about anything and that includes changing your health habits for the better.

~jj

#ProjectKindnessBook

#AlwaysChooseKindness

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Tis the season to help others, donate, & give!

Tis the season to help others, donate, & give!

Since it’s the holiday season, I deemed it appropriate to throw in an entry that is very, very, very (shall I say VERY again to emphasize my passion) dear to my heart.  While the holiday season is a great time of year, it can quickly become a very self-indulgent, over the top, season that is filled with buying the next best phone, computer, or tablet, more toys for children that have an overflowing toy box and toy room, and presents for friends that have everything they could possibly want and more.  We want to buy the perfect presents for our moms and dads, brothers and sisters, cousins and children.  I was as equally guilty of this at earlier times in my life, but I have come to realize that I would rather reach out to those that are less fortunate than me.  The holiday season is the perfect time to reach beyond yourself and your family to touch the lives and hearts of others.  This may sound silly and may not seem like a fitness tip, but when you help others it gives you that “feel good” feeling deep down that is great for your mind and body.  So, while helping others, donating, and giving to those who are less fortunate may not be physical fitness and exercise, it is a wellness tip that will do a lot for your mind, heart, and emotional well-being.

The holiday season is a time of celebration and joyous occasions for most people, but there are also lots of people in the world that are less fortunate or need help.  As a young adult, it is very, very, very (and yes, I shall say VERY) hard for me to watch people give thanks and appreciate their blessings on Thanksgiving Day only to become greedy, materialistic, and crabby human beings on Black Friday.  I am headed into working my 4th Black Friday in retail so I do have the experience to say this!  While I am not judging those around me, I am rather hoping to encourage and light a spark in others to reach out and help those around them.

I wish for others to reach within their heart and think about the kids that will wake up with no presents under the Christmas tree, cancer patients that are dying and suffering during the holidays, and soldiers, airport employees, and first responders (police officers, firefighters, hospital personnel) who are working so that everyone else can have a joyful holiday season.  This seems to quickly and easily be taken for granted by everyone, including myself at times.  My pledge, wish, and challenge to you is to send a care package or box to solders in need, visit http://www.anysoldier.com, which is a reliable website to send care packages to soldiers who are serving overseas.  Find an Angel tree and fill shoe boxes for children who otherwise will have no Christmas presents under the tree this holiday season or take freshly baked cookies, pies, and other treats to your local first responders to show them how much you appreciate their hard work during a season that is filled with chaos and stress for them.  Or even consider donating your hair if you don’t have the money to spend toward children and soldiers.  You can visit http://www.facebook.com/Beautifullengths8 for more information.

So, when you leave your house today, remember that one small thing to help others may actually be something that helps you as well!  Cheers to donating, giving, helping, and changing the lives of others.  And from me to you, I hope you and your family have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

~jj

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