It was just about a year ago. I can picture it clear as day because I was idling waiting for a giant freight train rumbling across my path, and I said to my friend: “Do you feel in your gut that this is going to be something?” She assured me, and I gave an emphatic, “I’m in!”
This brief, albeit life-changing, conversation was an amazing juxtaposition to said rumbling freight train. When the train finally passed, the rails went up and the lights stopped blazing on an unusually sunny but cold January day, and I continued on my route home unaware of just how big that decision really was. I made the to take on a Board role for an emerging nonprofit after only one 45-minute video call with a dozen or so women (only one of whom I knew), and I could not have known it would be my ‘something’ -- that something we all seek to fill our hearts, time and spirits to make us feel fulfilled outside the roles we already play.
Trust me, my days already were full working with giant corporate clients to write reports and marketing pieces, attempting to build an audience and blog regularly in this space, trying to pay some attention to my passion projects (AKA my two children’s books I’ve completely neglected but love passionately), taking care of myself mentally and physically, running my house (with my hubby who is my teammate in life and at home), and being an all-in mom to my two amazing elementary-aged kiddos. Yep, my days were full.
But, the universe had a way of putting the ‘something’ I didn’t know was missing on my to-do list, and I couldn’t possibly be more grateful, more humbled, more proud and more enthusiastic about it. When I dialed in to that call on a snowy December night, Gratitude Generation was in its infancy as the idea had just been developed, and the paperwork was in progress.
Now, almost a year later, I am blessed to have made new friendships that have the same genuine feel of childhood/college/camp friends who you’ve known for decades. I am lucky to wake up every morning wondering what I can do to make Gratitude Generation grow each day. It’s seriously another full-time job, sometimes just because my passion and my enthusiasm get away from me when a new idea bubbles up and we percolate, but I’m grateful and willing because it’s my ‘something.’ I’m most definitely still working on the paid gigs, still all-in with my household and kids, but I’ve got something that’s allowing me to make an impact on my community. It has heightened my gratitude practice and provided a way for me to channel my almost-always-optimistic-hopeful-empathetic outlook on life to do good in a way I would have never expected.
Something from Nothing
In the case of my ‘something,’ there was an idea to create a nonprofit that would inspire gratitude through service and education. It was just an idea, and did you know to become a nonprofit you can’t have just an idea? You need programming, missions, visions, archives, websites and so much more! So we dove in, as every day (and again, many nights) I carved out some time for this newfound love. And it started coming together – events, fundraising, impact.
The impact we had right from the start was dimensional – affecting us, our families, the people who came into our programming, the people who were helped by our programming, and so many other nonprofits, with whom we create ‘friendships’ and support through our efforts. I helped bring something to our community that we desperately need – a way to pop a tiny hole on our bubble and give our families a glimpse at lives unlike our own.
We needed a resource to do good and inspire good – and we needed a way to fill our families’ precious spare time with meaningful experiences. Sure, we all struggle with over-scheduled, under-slept families, but when we have those windows of time on a weekend, it’s so amazing to have something to do – something that will teach us, fill our hearts and make a mark on the world in some way. And that’s what Gratitude Generation does – we gift you meaningful time with your family, we gift you an opportunity to teach and inspire your children, we gift you an outlet to help fulfill your own ‘something’ that just may be missing.
We Do What We Can Do
Every one of us gets caught up in our lives and our own stuff, and there’s no reason to apologize for that. It’s human, and we’re all human, just trying to get through each day being the best human we can be. And often it’s just about getting through each day in one piece. And that’s OK.
But here I want to encourage you to find that ‘something’ in your life. While it may make your days even busier, remarkably it will actually help you get through each day in one piece because you’ll be fulfilled, satisfied and satiated. I’m not saying to run out and start a new nonprofit – each one of us on the board would tell you that’s a bold, often overwhelming task, but we’d also tell you that each little step to building something new has been incredible. I’m just saying to spend a moment, get inside your own head and think about if you need ‘something’ more.
Certainly, if Gratitude Generation can be that to you, I’d love it! We have HUGE plans. Really, we do. Our 2019 Strategic Plan is at the same time incredible, inspiring, exhausting, terrifying and amazing, and if you want to be part of it, find me!
But what’s really at the heart of my ramblings is that I want ‘something’ for all of you. Fill your heart by doing something, something more, something different, something challenging, something meaningful – something that ultimately will inspire your grateful heart. I can tell you without one iota of hesitation that finding my ‘something’ has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life – it has made me profoundly grateful for the people I share this journey with, the challenging work to bring Gratitude Generation to life, for what I have and what I can give.
Profound gratitude is a tall order, so start with that 'something' that just may bring you joy and satisfaction. Gratitude will no doubt follow.
Now, here’s my self-promoting moment, so stay with me! Please follow Gratitude Generation on Facebook and Instagram. Please check out our website at www.gratitudegeneration.org. And please, please consider a financial donation to support our mission and our programming. We have HUGE plans that I mentioned for 2019, and we’re in a fundraising push right now thanks to generous match donors. Anything helps, every dollar counts! And 100% of donations to the Paypal Giving Fund go to us: paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/3360492
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