2nd Day Of Christmas: ‘Tis The Season Of Giving

IMG_7437Today’s story comes to you in the form of a good deed done by my mom. My mom’s heart will always be the biggest of anyone I know. She has this uncanny way of being accepting and compassionate even towards those who least deserve it. She has the ability to look beyond the surface without judgement. She’s who I want to grow up and become because there really isn’t anyone much more wonderful than my mom.

If I’m correct, my mom has been donating to the Grand Forks homeless shelter; Northlands Rescue Mission for awhile now. $10 or so here and there whenever she could. I don’t think it’s been too regular or anything but I think the mission sends out donation requests periodically and if she can afford it, she’ll throw a few bucks their way.

Bags-of-Blessings-2014-231x300Recently, Northlands Rescue Mission sent out flyers with the tagline “Bags of Blessings.” As we all know, Christmas is definitely coming. Those [believers] of all ages, races, and income levels in some way, shape, or form have Christmas on their yearly bucket lists. Whether you have the money or you don’t; Christmas is special. ‘Tis the season where miracles are possible and kindness is spread.

My mom took part in being someone’s Christmas miracle this year. Instead of tossing the flyer she received like I’m sure a lot of people would do (sadly, myself included) she decided to spread the wealth. Good karma if you will.

On a routine trip to Grand Forks she picked up all of the items on the list including a sweatshirt, socks, shampoo, deodorant, and a few other things. She also bought a gym bag as asked and marked the front of it male also noting the size she had bought for. All that was left was to bring the bag with the items in it to Northlands Rescue Mission and that she did.

The total cost of all the items purchased came to $72 and some change. When I asked my mom what her reasoning was for helping the homeless shelter more than she usually does, she left me with this:

Matthew 25:40 “What you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” ~Jesus Christ

I’ve been one to judge too quickly and assume things that I do not know.  I’m sure that many people in homeless shelters across the region and country are truly in need of generous help from those like my mom and I hope that I can find the empathy needed towards causes like that. My mom deserves a round of applause not only for buying a few things and donating it to the shelter but for being a damned good person. Coming from someone (myself) who finds it hard to see beyond the grime and the dirt on the surface and actually wonder what the story behind the homelessness is – it really takes a heart of gold and compassion to donate towards a cause that faces so much ridicule.

IMG_7970If you’d like to donate to your local homeless shelter please do so; I’ve listed both Grand Forks and Bemidji’s contact information at the end of this post. They need more help than any of us are probably capable of even understanding. If you chose not to donate towards the shelter, find a cause that you feel comfortable donating towards even if it’s just one time a year.

In an effort to embrace the season of giving and to do some good; I’ve decided to do some research myself and donate a little bit this Christmas season as well. I fully believe that rehabilitation is one of the key factors to solve many of the homelessness cases in the area. I’ll be looking online and around the area locally for a non-profit rehabilitation program to donate towards.

Northlands Rescue Mission – 420 Division Ave, Grand Forks, ND 58201
Village of Hope – PO BOX 1035, Bemidji, MN 56619

Merry 2nd Day of Christmas!

 

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Christmas In July.

10488215_10152518733063363_7056823897675192397_nI wanted to post some of my favorite pictures from the holiday weekend. Or, week I should say. The last Sunday in June through July 3rd, we stayed at a quaint little Catholic bible resort through the Diocese of Crookston. I’m assuming the Diocese has camps for kids that run throughout the summer based off of all the hand-written and carved names in the lodge. But for this 4-day getaway, it was reserved for our extended family only. No one else.

10442440_10152518723093363_715589565184503715_nUnfortunately the first two days were filled with chilly off and on rainy weather. It definitely got everyone’s spirits down because for most of us, it’s the only time that we’ll get a vacation in the calendar year. I’d like to say that we made the most of it, which we did, but we definitely got restless watching the white caps form on the little lake knowing that it was too rough for canoes and too cold to swim.
10446556_10152518802578363_3928342290805872018_nWednesday came as soon as it could. The weather let up and the real fun began! Fishing, swimming, driving a boat for the first time, finding out that I possess zero sense of balance in a canoe, laughing, scavenger hunts, s’mores…the list goes on.

Thursday we packed up and headed down the twisty road to Lake Itasca. We mosied our way through the biggest state park that I’ve ever been to. Checked out the beach, visited a pioneer cemetery and crossed the Mississippi Headwaters. It was really beautiful and peaceful.

10400844_10152518740063363_8975642485060600810_nFriday we traveled a bit further to Bemidji to see C’s sisters and nephew. The town had a carnival going on for the 4th of July. I can definitely tell that I’ve grown up and slightly outgrown the fair scene. I still like it. I love hearing the kids laughing and the rides spinning. I still laugh when the carny’s attempt to sweet talk you into playing a game. But man oh man, I don’t miss the crowd. I don’t miss the push and shove and the nasty looks if you’re in the way. When we were younger we must have been too excited to notice the amount of people crowded into such a small dirty area.

10418425_10152518751188363_6484200687791014883_nSeeing C’s nephew was an absolute delight. He’s 3 1/2 now and hilarious as can be. We watched the fireworks right on shore of Lake Bemidji. They were beautiful and he loved the heck out of them!

I won’t bore you with much more. I kind of just wanted to mention the highlights of our trip because memories so quickly become forgotten. I hope you had a happy 4th with friends and family.

Follow me on Vine to see a few 6-second videos from our trip @orianoelle!

God’s Not Dead.

loganI’ve been busy being busy. The good kind of busy though. Where time doesn’t drag and you enjoy the people you’re around. I had a great weekend. My teeny tiny taller than me baby brother went to prom. Which is kind of a big deal because he’s so…Logan. You’d have to know him to get it. But he definitely looked dashing. His girlfriend and him complimented each other very nicely.

My mom’s birthday falls tomorrow so, because we’re kind of a ways away, my brother Nick and I celebrated it with her yesterday. We went to Fargo to spend the day at the 8th annual Holistic Expo and grabbed some grub.

I’ve been to the expo before and really enjoyed it. There is everything from healing stones to palm readers to balancing the mind and finding peace. Two years ago I went to PaLiChi and felt such peace and harmony after my reading. I was going through a really tough time and her words and reassurance had stayed with me since I last saw her.

falithi

PaLiChi – 763-742-8690 www.falithihealing.com

She was at the expo again this year and I was more than thrilled. I won’t go into detail with my experience but I want to recommend her to anyone that ever needs help or healing in almost any sense. She is a Master Shaman, Psychic Medium, Spiritual and Energy Healer.

I’ve always known that spirit guides worked through people on the physical Earth. I’ve never doubted it. And to be able to have gone to her multiples times now and see what she can do even if just for a few moments really moves mountains.

I believe the Holistic Expo is in Fargo only once a year each spring but she is located in Brooklyn Center, MN. I have posted her website and contact information below her photo for anyone that is interested in experiencing her gift.

Following our trip to Fargo, my mom and I came back to Grand Forks and went to the movie “God’s Not Dead.” I had heard a little about it but hadn’t seen or sought out a preview. We were kind of tight on time and it was the first one closest to the time that we wanted to go, so we did and I’m glad we did. It amazing how so many little things in a day can link up and make you feel like a totally different person.

After my reading with PaLiChi, being with my brother and mom, and then seeing “God’s Not Dead;” I felt different. Whole. I felt open to positivity and accepting everything that is handed to me. I saw through another persons eyes that sometimes the answer God gives you is no and it’s not to be cruel or to cause pain. It’s to save you and help you. I felt at peace knowing that things from my past and moments in time that I wish I could change were meant to be. I have multiple purposes in this world and it brings me joy to know that even though I’m just one person in the 7.046 billion or even more people, I can still make a difference. I might not change the way of humanity, make national news, or even have something I do be noticed, but I can change peoples lives in the smallest ways. I can be kind rather than crude. I can help rather than ignore. I can pray instead of doubt and most of all, I can trust that everything happens for a reason.

I don’t believe in every single practice of Catholicism in which I was raised. I eat meat on Fridays all year round. I believe that anyone of any race, gender, or sexuality should have the freedom to love and marry. I think marijuana will do more good than closed minds think. It should be regulated and alcohol prohibited. I think war is pure stupidity. I firmly believe that people should be hired based on knowledge. Just because you have a degree behind your name does not qualify you to do something. If you’re an idiot, a degree will mean nothing. I have opinions and am more judgmental than I’d like myself to be. I have flaws and sometimes I’m a royal asshole. But I have a heart, I am a person, and I love. I know I have angels and auras all around me. I know there is a higher power.

starsYou don’t have to be Lutheran or Hindu. You don’t have to be an Atheist or Jewish. You just simply have to be. And if you can find peace and happiness in just being as best as you are capable of being than that is enough. Nothing needs to be proclaimed or preached. Help others, do good, and be present. That’s what matters.

A Person’s A Person, No Matter How Small.

A quote from one of Dr. Seuss’ genius archives of imaginative wonder in the book “Horton Hears A Who!”

This video gave me the chills and I just had to share. I will always be pro-life and in the era that we are in, it seems to be harder and harder to defend it. This little girl (now teenager) can change so many lives by being proactive in spreading the word and the cause.

Please read and watch. Please listen to what she has to say. I want to point out that while I often encourage comments, this isn’t a forum for negativity and the “other side.” Believe me, I’ve heard it time and time again. Here isn’t the place. Today, I’m helping to spread the word about life and the wonder that it entails.

Thank you for your time.

I Love You More.

Everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and emotions. It’s just how you choose to deal with them..

Through a hectic that shouldn’t have been hectic weekend, I’m finally home with my Tim Hortons hot chocolate. In the beginning of and actually most of the day I had such a negative point of view. I was being a Debbie Downer and let other people get to me when I should have really been enjoying time spent with the people I was with.

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Setting all that aside though, I was happily humbled by the once again realization that I am immensely blessed. I have the best family anyone could ever ask for. There are no words to describe how momentous of an impact my parents have made on my life. In a world of drug addicts, adultery, divorce, and hate; they managed to still bring up three awesome (if I do say so myself) kids. They filled our hearts up with love, our brains up with knowledge and our minds up to be open.

I was reminded today that although I’m not going to like everyone. I’m not going to accept everyones lifestyles and I’m not going to except everyones inconsiderate foolishness; that no matter what, I’ll always have a family. I’ll always be loved no matter what. And even though it just sounds silly, I’m not talking about the usual love. My parents don’t just love us kids because we are their offspring. We aren’t just three toads that they raised and threw off into the world. No matter where we are in our lives or how old we ever get – they will still care about us.

The sad thing is, I don’t think this is as common as I previously thought it was. I think there are a lot of people out there that hurry up and get the kids old enough to raise themselves and then they are set free without the support of what is right and what is wrong. Do they give up on parenthood? I don’t know, to each their own. What matters is that my parents never gave up.

We are now 24, 21, and 18. We all live completely different lives in different towns. We are all at different stages of our early adulthood. We pay our own bills (except the 18 year old who is still in school). We make our own decisions and we have our own viewpoints on every situation but the one thing we have in common is that our family, all 5 of us, matter to each other more than anything else in this entire..everything. More than the world can even handle.

So thank you mom and dad. Thank you for creating a good wholesome family structure. Thank you for showing us what love is. Thank you for staying home on Friday and Saturday nights. Thank you for picking me up drunk and grounding me for an entire summer. Thank you for teaching us lessons and for giving us the sex talk. Thank you for letting us make our own decisions. Thank you for being faithful. Thank you for being the best parents in the entire history of parents being parents because believe it or not, people would kill to have what we have. I love you all.

I can’t figure out how to embed a video into a post so here’s the link for the Flipagram I made with my favorite people in it: Family!

Empathetic VS Apathetic.

Empathy doesn’t come easy for me. Even admitting that makes me feel like a douche. It’s not that I don’t care about people, I do. But I don’t know, it’s just something that I can force and force and force but if I’m faking it, does it really matter? Can you tell? I mean, I feel empathy towards people that I can actually relate to. There are plenty of people that I can actually say I’ve felt something similar to what they are feeling but there are many more things that I just can’t relate to. I’m sure lots of people that can empathize with others haven’t gone through the heartache or whatever emotion may arise but they can still genuinely exhibit compassion.

Does that make me a bad person? Is it better to show rapport when you don’t mean it or to be honest? I’m sure it depends on the situation. There have been times when I just want to say “you know what, too bad for you.” This even relates to the entire 9/11 fiasco. It’s terrible that all those lives were lost, yes, but it didn’t change me. It didn’t change my view on the world. The world has always been a shitty place, have you ever read a history book?

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I’m sorry that your spouse is in the military. They chose that life knowing the consequences. You either were part of the decision or knew it was part of their life when you met them. It’s a package deal. Yes, it’s tragic when someone dies in war but it was also awful when my mom lost her dad to heart disease.

Or when you miserably had to plow your snowed in yard for the thousandth time this winter? Really, I don’t care. You live as far north as you can in the midwest, are you surprised it snowed again?

Within the last year, I had a good friend pass away. It was a very sad moment in time and whenever I think of her I am filled with immense emotion but I wasn’t close enough to her to deserve any empathy from anyone. Once we heard of her sudden passing I promised myself that I’d try to relate to people more but it’s not easy. It’s not something that you can just “do” or turn on. You have to try to be kinder and I mean really really try.

I’m not trying to exhibit myself as an asshole nor am I attempting to justify my emotions. It’s more admitting to something that I can’t seem to control. I do empathize when necessary but overall I’m not an overly understanding person. The simple things in life that we all complain about on a daily basis shouldn’t have to require empathy. I bitch all the time but I don’t expect people to really give that much of a shit. And when people do go over board with the “oh no, that’s just terrible” nonsense speech – it doesn’t make me feel any better, it just makes me wonder if you are sincere or not.

I’m not quite sure where it all came from. It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older I can tell you that much. I’m sure part of it was how I was raised. When you wake up in the morning it’s up to you if you’re going to have a good day or not. Don’t let others bring you down. It also might be due to the last few years where although I had people to care for me; I still didn’t feel like anyone understood what I was going through. Someone told me about two years ago to not broadcast everything out there. To keep it to myself and that’s what I’ve been doing. I kept a lot of things to myself thus obviously no one has been able to empathize with me because in all fairness, they didn’t have the choice to.

Having gone on an on about that, I wouldn’t describe myself as an apathetic person either. I guess I’m in limbo when it comes to the topic. I wonder if we were honest with ourselves; if more people are actually in-between like myself. I run into people on a daily basis that try too hard and I can’t help but wonder if they pull the guilt card like I have for so many years so they just default to feeling bad for people. I’m on the road to being more honest so I can find myself from within and I really do feel that I am a good person to the people in my life whether you are present for five minutes or five years. But I’m still willing to admit that I could be better.

Here’s to trying a little harder and caring a little more.

Pay It Forward.

I made flyers to hang up around our office today for one of my co-workers. She’s only been here a short time but being a pod-mate with her makes getting to know each other very easy and worth while.

I won’t be posting the finished flyer as it is strictly work related but it was very full-filling to be able to actually help and be a part of something bigger than myself.

Her husband has been going through medical issues recently and to help offset some of the travel expenses we are putting on a benefit for her and her family. Even though I didn’t play a large role in the planning of the event itself, being able to contribute in any way really helped me to ground myself and put certain parts of my life that I may take for granted into a different perspective.

May we all be blessed with good health and happiness; here’s to you!

If you would like to find out how you can contribute to this family, please contact me via my “Contact Info” page.