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Service is the rent we pay for living.

Tue, May 18, 2010

Parenthood, Personal Development

Oh how I admire Marian Wright Edelman.

Today’s blog-rambles are entirely spontaneous.

Ive chosen to preempt a DVD review post (apologies all around.  I loved the DVD.  My glutes loved the DVD.  Reviewpraise forthcoming) for more pressing issues.

Pressing in this domicile anyway.

Lately the Tornado & I have been talking a great deal about giving, volunteering, & the importance of helping others.

I’ve made the conscious choice to say as little as I can and instead do what my own parents did and simply walk the walk.

Growing up I watched them work tirelessly to help others.

They marchedwalkedpicketedprotesteddonatedvolunteered and never merely gave lip-service to a cause they believed in.

Ive shared here more than a few times how much I adore the age of four.  The Tornado grasps so much more than I even give her credit for & is able to participate in my ‘grown-up’ activities in ways she couldnt just six months ago.

As a result, we’re taking a little field-trip today.

We’re trying something new & something which I plan to make a weekly excursion.

(if all goes well.  A few prayers offered up in the form of OK-she’s-four-but-there-are-still-leftover-terrible-twos-tantrums-in-her-please-let-them-not-emerge-today before we depart.)

We are starting our service simple & small.

We are bringing some money to the Dollar Store, purchasing all the sunscreen, bandaids, Neosporin, & anti-bacterial gel we can afford and compiling ziplock bags with one of each inside.

That way when we see someone who sparks a “S/HE’S HUNGRY MAMA!” at the side of the road we can reach in the back & pass him/her a bag*.

Yesterday when she & I talked about this she asked if we could bring the “sumscreen and stuff” to people today.  So, if all transpires as planned, she & I will take a little trip around Austin after we create our bags.

We are starting our service simple & small.

We are off to do unto others & I wanna drag you all into the proverbial fray.

Will you join the Tornado & me?

(need more motivation? you can expect a thick slathering of Helpers High afterward.  Who couldn’t use some extra endorphins?).

What could you do this week which might make anothers life a little easier?

What small action/random act of kindness could you do TODAY to change someone else’s day for the better?

What pops into your mind when you read the M.W.E. quote above?

How are you paying your rent this week?

please to hit us all up in the comments.

*A friend who volunteers in a TX homeless shelter told me these are items the residents repeatedly mention they need/find difficult to procure.

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58 Responses to “Service is the rent we pay for living.”

  1. Tia says:

    I’ve never heard this quote before.
    I’ve also been really wrapped up in myself and my weight loss jouney these days.

    I will join you.

    TODAY I am going to find a random act of kindness to do for as many strangers as I can and I’ll come back later to share what I did.

    Thanks for the prodding.

  2. BK says:

    U rock! I will make an extra sandwich & give to the gentlemen I see every morning. I too have to walk the walk. Fortunately mine have gotten it & sometimes remind me too :)

    Way 2 go Tornado.

  3. Bea says:

    This quote is a favorite of mine as well and never fails to remind me that I need to serve others in order to succeed myself.

    I love how you blog about biceps one day and volunteering the next.

    It’s what we need to be wholly healthy.

    Thank you for all you do.

  4. Yum Yucky says:

    Hmmm. I have no good answer to give, which means I need to do better. Thanks for the wake up call. ugh

  5. Allie says:

    I don’t have a creative one to add, but I’m heading to work now and will buy the person behind me at Starbucks a coffee!!

  6. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I think it’s so great that you’re teaching your daughter early that giving is good and fun. Saying this is going to make me feel so so old, but here it goes: Kids today seem so ungrateful and self-centered. Way to buck the trend!

  7. moonduster (Becky) says:

    I need to come up with something for today. One year, I bought bare root trees (apple, plums, lemon, orange, apricot and cherry) when I found them priced at $2 each and took them to my church’s field where they grew produce to take to the Food Bank, and my pastors wife and I spent the day planting the trees.

    I’d love to do something that gets my kids involved too.

  8. Karen says:

    I like this notion of making it like rent in that I will plan it into my monthly expenses and deposits.

    Although daily would probably be better lol.

    I’ve not heard the quote before.

  9. Pam says:

    We have a marvelous program here where homeless people purchase newspapers (articles written by homeless advocates) for a quarter a piece and resell them for $1.00. There are many success stories of people working their way out of homelessness by participating in this program.I’ll end a month with about 10 copies of each issue. I can’t pass someone selling them without buying a copy, usually with a tip.

  10. Joanna Sutter says:

    Brilliant! I’ll follow your lead some way, some how. Scouts honor! ;-)

  11. MrsFatass says:

    We’re joining you! The friends I was visiting in Chicago this week recently experienced a housefire. All material things were lost. They’ve since recompiled certain necessities - clothes and food and things like that - but Trophy Husband, The Things and I are making a LOVE BOX for them. I’m copying a bunch of pictures of us from the old days, we’re making photo albums and putting things in frames. We’re making mementos and things to recapture some of the sentimental things lost in the fire.

  12. dragonmamma says:

    This really has nothing to do with the topic, but I thought you guys would get a kick out of this:


    (Does this count as a RAOK?)

  13. Rhonda says:

    Thanks so much for the wake up call. I love the quote and I love how you are teaching your daughter by walking the walk. Brilliant.
    I’ll be searching for ways to give back.

  14. Cassie says:

    I love it. That’s an amazingly awesome idea. Sounds like you’ve got your head on straight and you’ll make your daughter a strong role model.

  15. Lynda says:

    I am focusing on shedding 80+ pounds and winning the battle!

    I hadn’t realized until this morning how selfish I’ve become. I know this is a gift to myself (I’m single and no children) yet I need to stop and make time to serve others in order to really be whole.

    Thank you for this post.

  16. Natalia Burleson says:

    What a great idea! :) Thank you for the reminder to say nothing and walk the walk….so true!

  17. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    You are so amazing! I have not heard this quote…

    Dental day for me so on the road, in the chair & on the road but I am going to think about this for a later date..

    I love how you teach Tornado AND US by example.. LOVE IT!!!!

  18. chupsie says:

    Wow! Thanks! its nice to know that what I say has an impact on other people… I hope you had an amazing day too!

  19. Miz says:

    Dragonmamma? I loved that and yes it is a RAOK :)

    That’s all from this end as we are off to serve.

  20. jeepjenn says:

    I LOVE that saying! It’s always been one of my favorites.

    Volunteering is an amazing thing! I was a volunteer for Operation Go Home for years, and now I volunteer for Habitat for Humanity…I am learning how to build a house one part at a time!

    My first 5k is in a few weeks, and I find that a great experience…I get exercise and a challenge that I can do…and they get the money I raise.

    As someone who has been on the recieving end of the food bank, I think the recieving can be a hard, emotional experience.

    Recieving something from someone else, especially for the first time, washed away denial and made me LOOK at my situation…and that can be a better teacher than anything else.

    I am humbled by the human condition over and over.

  21. Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story says:

    What a fantastic idea! You are such a wonderful person and you are raising the Tornado to follow in your footsteps! :)

  22. VaMomof2 says:

    That helper’s high hits kids too - or at least teens. I take my 2 teenage daughters and volunteer at a local food coalition during the monthly deliveries. We do the heavy work first (packing boxes, lifting) and then help carry food out to people’s cars and stay to clean up. We talk about how the conversations they have is worth almost as much as the food. Having someone, especially a teen, take time to chat with you - I am always so proud of them and hope they continue in college.

    Another favorite of ours (that I think we will dust off this weekend) is baking cookies and delivering to our local volunteer fire department.

  23. workout mommy says:

    yes, thank you for the reminder! I too need to do better and get my kids involved. When i mention that I’m giving away some of their older toys,they both start to cry. Instead of spending the time to teach them about WHY we do this, I give in and do it when they are asleep. Shame on me. From now on I am going to make sure they learn/understand exactly why we are doing this.

    you rock!

  24. Helen says:

    One of my most favorite sayings ever. You are a good mama Miz, you really are.

  25. Lydia says:

    Simply & small.

    Why didn’t I think of that ;) I always think it needs to be huge to make a difference.

    It doesn’t.

    I love your blog and how you train our minds and bodies.


  26. Fab Kate says:

    There are limitless possibilities for volunteerism and service in every community. From the individual acts of kindness to joining large programs like Habitat for Humanity or doing walks for cancer, mental illness, ALS, or any other debilitating condition, there’s always something someone can do.

    The girls and I are involved in various programs protecting wildlife and the ecosystem. Recently we went out and built fences on the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, donated a large quantity of our unnecessary stuff to Prairie Dog Pals for their garage sale to relocate prairie dogs that otherwise would have been exterminated, donated clothing and bags to The Storehouse, a food pantry and clothing exchange for the poor in Albuquerque, and of course we do education volunteerism at the zoo as well.

    I, personally, don’t see volunteerism as equal to “rent”. I guess I have too much experience with neighbors who don’t pay rent and are evicted, and people who don’t serve aren’t evicted from life. Rather I see volunteerism as family obligation. The same love and obligation I feel towards my kids and my parents and other relatives, I feel towards the earth and the family of man.

    OK, I know that kinda sounds hokey… but there you have it. If we love each other and our planet, volunteerism is a joyful obligation.

  27. melissa says:

    Beautiful idea. I know I learned how to give from my mother and I think my kids are picking it up from me. Definitely reduces one’s own stress to relieve another’s.

  28. Laurie says:

    That’s so awesome and such a great idea! I’ve got my thinking cap on as far as what I’m going to do. I’m going to start with a trip to Goodwill to make a donation that is long overdue.

  29. messymimi says:

    My kids have been involved in service, through the cat rescue and a couple of other places, since they were about your Tornado’s age.

    It makes a huge difference.

    I’ve read the idea before of making “goodie bags” for homeless people, but so many of our “homeless” are seen at the end of the day walking to the cars they parked conveniently out of the way that I have hesitated. I will no longer hesitate, and leave it to their consciences if it turns out they did not need the stuff.

  30. Michelle@Eatingjourney says:

    I am spending time w/ a friend as his mother is dying.

    I think that teaching kids service is probably one of the most valuable gifts you can give your kids and those around you. Thank you for writing about this, as giving back is about paying it forward. So that, god forbid, any of us are on the side of the road…another 4 year old save us.

  31. MizFit says:

    I am spending time w/ a friend as his mother is dying.

    another great (yet heartbreaking) example of how serving others does not need to be volunteering in a traditional form.

    As FabKate said there are opportunities all around us when we view our lives thru the lens of DOING UNTO OTHERS.

  32. Shelley B says:

    What a great quote - I’ve never heard it before today.

    Love what you are doing with the Tornado - of course, my cautious side is coming out with the warning of please be careful when strangers approach your car…I know you will. :)

    I try to do the next right thing, always, and try to remember that the person who is helping me at Target,HEB or where ever had who knows what going on in their life and I try to not complicate it any further.

    Love the example you are setting for everyone!

  33. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    Such a wonderful thing to do with your daughter, and something she will *remember*, which is the most important thing.

  34. Skyler Meine says:

    This is why we read you. You make us better. You make us look inside ourselves and require us to pull out the good.

    I think my goal is to serve those around me better. Try to ease their burdens and let them know they are loved. Sometimes we want to serve the world when there are those right next door struggling.

  35. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    I love this post. Kids learn by seeing and doing. This is perfect.

  36. Mary Meps says:

    I volunteer every weekend of my summer to keep the observatory running - teaching kids and adults the wonders of our universe.

    I volunteer a lot of time with my writers organization.

    When I have money, I will give some to the people with signs on the street corners. Today probably as I have errands to run later.

  37. Elisabeth says:

    I’m really excited about brainstorming this idea. I always have the intention to come up with a good plan to help others, but never follow through. It’s officially on my “to do” list now.

  38. Ann says:

    Love it! I always want to help but the non-perishable food that tends to be easy to carry around and hand out isn’t always easy to eat. Great to hear that there are items in need that are more conducive to this. Thanks for the idea!

  39. cammy@tippytoediet says:

    That’s an excellent idea!

    This week, my focus is on my parents’ church rummage sale and anything useful I have to contribute to that. (Just thought of something great to donate while I was posting my latest blog entry. Neat how that worked out.)

  40. POD says:

    I keep visiting the cancer’d. I hope that counts. It counts with the cancer’d.
    Lovely quote.

  41. Addy says:

    A young woman at work - no family in the area - no where to go when her marriage turned violent. Living in our guest room now. We all good!

  42. Miranda says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and howing some love. You are truly inspiring!

  43. Kimberley says:

    Service is the rent we pay for living. This is beautiful. As part of my 2010 goals I am giving to 26 different charities in my city. I highlight them on my blog every two weeks.

    When I went to university and before I started my career, I had a lot of time to give and volunteered in several organizations. Currently I have more money than time, hence the donations. I would like to get back to volunteering though. Something for me to think about.

    I also don’t like to receive extra without giving extra. I won a Survivor pool and received my $$$ yesterday. Last night I saw my friend’s husband was looking for sponsors for a charity event so some of my winnings went right to Sick Kid’s Hospital.

    Thank you for sharing your giving nature and the idea of service to others with the lovely Tornado.

  44. 'Drea says:

    I love, love Marian Wright Edelman. Her book, The Measure of Our Success, is one of my favorites.

    Another favorite is a quote by Dr. King who said: an individual has not started living until he or she can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

    Kudos for setting such a stellar example.

  45. Diana says:

    You are like the sweetest, kindest person on the planet. What a great idea! And teaching this to little Tornado, wow!

    Thanks for the post on the weight lifting last week too. I tried some of your exercises I hadn’t done before. I’m particularly enjoying (I use the word “enjoy” loosely), the 21s. A real challenge and I could really feel it.

    Totally love the new look too. Very cool (like you!).

  46. Laurie says:

    I mean this in a loving fashion:

    You mustt stop making the excuses (ok I did read your post and do realize that was about a book for children :) ) and write a fitness book.

    What I glean from your blog is the necessity to exercise the mental along with the physical.

    I have been in shape before, MizFit.

    The kind of shape other women coveted I looked FIIIINE yet my inside did not match so the fit me was fleeting.

    I hope this makes sense to you.

    Love ya

  47. Lydia says:

    I served yesterday.
    I paid my rent.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  48. Irene aka FitHungryGurl says:

    This is a brilliant post and while I don’t haave any ideas right now, I will come up with something.

  49. JoanE says:

    I see a lot of teens involved with service in my community. My daughter was lamenting that she did not have much service to put on her NHS application, but I pointed out that we have spent many weekends for the last few years helping out Gramma, which doesn’t leave much time for other community service. She says this doesn’t count. At least I hope I have set some kind of example - she always gives spare change to homeless people. Both my parents were involved in civic projects, church work, etc. So I find it hard to understand people who don’t do that.

  50. paula says:

    Great post Miz

    I’ve been very aware of others around me. Those who are sick, struggling financially, emotionally and I’ve been trying to put myself out there. Giving a friend a ride to work, visiting with my sister in the hospital, texting works of encouragement to my friends who need it.

    Giving where I can. It’s what the good Lord wants me to do. Just paying it forward. In small ways.

  51. Erin says:

    I bring a dish to our local shelter weekly. Tonight’s the night. We just got home from the shelter. My 6 year old helped with silverware distribution and I dished out food.

    Lead by example. Doing is more than saying.

  52. charlotte says:

    THIS is why I love you!!! I feel exactly the same way about service and the importance of instilling a love of it in my children. A lot of people think a gesture has to be big to “count” but if everyone followed in your footsteps and did something little, there wouldn’t be any need of the “big” things. You are awesome and amazing and totally my hero!!!

  53. jord says:

    What an amazing way to include your daughter! I also grew up in a social justice-minded home. I’m always looking for new ideas to include my son. :)

  54. @FitInMyHeart says:

    I LOVED this post!!! I have done MANY THINGS for MANY PEOPLE But this is a NEW IDEA that I would like to add to my “Do Unto Others” Bag of Tricks!! Thanks for sharing!! You 2 are PRECIOUS!!! *Hugs*

  55. Deb says:

    I regularly volunteer at one urban garden project -last year, I was the tomato queen. But every MLK Day I head to another project where hundreds of volunteers will gather to plant, weed, and prep garden beds. It’s a magical experience that I look forward to each year.

    How long I can last this year is an unknown. The hip still has its limits. But I’m there…


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