Posts Tagged ‘making a difference’

Hi, all.

The blog entry I wrote on Monday entitled Making a Difference in the World is part of a blogging challenge for a charity called Vittana. Vittana had some technical issues earlier this week, so I just got the language to insert at the bottom of the blog entry. I checked the charity before participating to make sure it is legit. I welcome all of you to do the same and let me know if you find anything of concern.

Nobody should feel pressured to participate in the challenge, but I want to invite anyone to participate who **wants** to do so. In a nutshell, you loan money (I believe the minimum loan is $25) to a specific college student in a third world country who doesn’t have the funds to complete college. (You choose the student yourself — profiles are online.) College costs as low as $2 a day in some of these countries, so at $25 loan is a HUGE contribution (versus here in America where that barely buys you a cup of coffee!).

After the student graduates, he or she pays you back. From my research online, it looks like the repayment rate is in the 97-99% range, which is incredible to me! Then, you can withdraw your repayment or apply it to toward another student. I plan to do this myself (although I need to get my kid to school right now — I want to take my time in choosing which student to sponsor).

Again, NOBODY should feel pressured to participate. I am choosing to participate in making a loan and blogging about making a difference because I believe this is a worthy cause. This blog’s primary focus is healing, not fundraising, so feel free to ignore this opportunity if you don’t feel drawn to it.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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As a child abuse survivor, I have seen some of the worst that the world has to offer. I have seen betrayal, pain, and trauma. Most of you reading this blog entry have seen this as well. I have also seen some of the best that the world has to offer – compassion and kindness. Ironically (or perhaps not so), I have found the deepest compassion in those who were the most wounded.

When I found Isurvive (a message board for child abuse survivors) back in 2003, I came to the site as a vulnerable and broken person. Being vulnerable was dangerous to me because, as an abused child, my vulnerabilities were used against me. I probably would have committed suicide if my love for my young child had not outweighed the very deep pain in my spirit. I was deeply wounded and did not know if I could ever heal.

At Isurvive, I encountered some of bravest and most compassionate people I have ever known. These complete strangers, each of whom had his or her own story of horrors, took time out of their lives to support me, a complete stranger they knew only through the screen name of “Faith.” At a time when I was surviving, quite literally, minute by minute as I battled a deluge of flashbacks of horrors from my childhood, these complete strangers gave me the two things I needed the most – their time and their compassion.

What is the best way to make a difference in this world? I think the best way is through compassion and kindness. You don’t have to found a charity or join the Peace Corp to make a difference. Sometimes we make a difference through the little things we do, such as speaking a kind word or offering someone a shoulder to cry on. Compassion doesn’t require a grand gesture – some of my most compassionate moments have been received through someone’s silent presence.

You might wonder how “lowly me” can make a difference in this world. My answer is through kindness and compassion. Everything you do that is motivated by kindness and compassion makes the world a better place one baby step at a time.

You have the power to make a difference. It might be through mentoring someone who is in a painful place that you once were or donating a contribution (no matter how modest) to a worthy cause. I have found that my calling has come out of my deepest wounds, and the time I invest in my calling is even more rewarding to me than to those who receive my investment.

This blog post is part of the Vittana “Make a Difference” blogger challenge. The contest invites bloggers from around the world to discuss various ways to make a difference in the world, as well as share stories on who or what has made a difference in their lives.

The winning blog post will be the post that drives the most loans to students in need. Please support this cause (and this blog!) by making a loan in my blog’s name: “Blooming Lotus.” Be sure to type that in when you reach the checkout page (example screenshot) The more loans you make the more educations get funded and the more recognition and traffic my site gets!

Please support this blog and contest by using this special link to tweet about it (You can edit the tweet before it’s posted, but make sure this link (http://bitly.com/rFeZ0f)and the hashtag #vittanachallenge is part of the tweet or Vittana won’t know you tweeted about me!)

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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At church yesterday, the pastor showed the following video (no religious triggers). I thought it was such a great message that I want to share it with all of you. Bottom line — No matter who you are or what your station is in life, you can make a difference.

I have tried several times unsuccessfully to embed the video, so please follow this link:

The Simple Truths of Service

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Have you ever thought about what you will be remembered for after you pass away? I am fascinated by tombstones. (Yes, this is another one of my strange quirks.) These days, tombstones tend to be kind of boring with just the dates of birth and death. However, if you go to old cemeteries and read the tombstones, you will often find tombstones that tell you about the person’s life.

Sometimes people are remembered for their brave military service. Others are remembered for being loving husbands/wives or fathers/mothers. I recently found one that contained what I would like engraved on my tombstone. I have posted a picture of it. However, in case you cannot read it, here is what it says:

She went about doing good and set at liberty them that are bruised.

What an amazing way to be remembered!

I found this tombstone at Monticello in the same small cemetery where Thomas Jefferson is buried. This is the inscription on the tombstone for Agnes Dillon Randolph. I don’t know a thing about her other than that she was born in 1875, died in 1930, and has some sort of connection to Thomas Jefferson. However, that inscription tells me that she was my kind of lady!

One reason I am fascinated by old tombstones is that you are forced to condense an entire lifetime into a few words. Oh, to be remembered for setting at liberty those that are bruised!

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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I really enjoy reading the comments that people post on my blog. On my blog entry entitled Words of Wisdom from “The Shack”: Dangers of the Label “Child Abuse Survivor”, a reader posted the following comment:

I found the statement concerning potential quite interesting. Are we limiting our “potential” by labeling ourselves child abuse survivors or perhaps it is just the opposite? We are reaching our potential by acknowledging we are child abuse survivors and doing the hard work it takes to heal – one moment at a time. I believe we get confused by the word potential. Do we think we have to accomplish something notable and amazing to have reached our potential? Or is it that we are the best human beings we can be, living truthfully, and committing ourselves to stopping that kind of hurt in any way we can.

My friends tell me I am a hero even though I am a child abuse survivor because I have broken the cycle. I can accept that because I believe there is hero in each one of us and it can come out in big ways or small ones. ~ Esther

I agree that each of us has a “hero” inside of us, and you don’t have to save the world in order to be a hero. I love The Starfish Story, which shows that we can make a world of difference to one person. To that one person, you are a hero. To that one person, you have changed the world because you have changed his world.

My name does not have to go down in a history book for my existence to have mattered. I don’t need a building with my name inscribed on it to matter. Instead, I make a difference by touching the lives of the people around me.

I have made a difference in many lives simply by healing myself. As I have healed myself, I have changed the way that I interact with others. This creates a ripple effect that affects still others.

I am most proud of the way that my healing has affected my son. I frequently marvel that I, a child abuse survivor, could raise such a happy and well-adjusted kid. How did someone like me, who loathed herself throughout most of her life, succeed in raising a kid who savors life and lives it to the fullest?

It happened through healing myself. I loved my son enough to learn how to love myself, which has healed me on deeper and deeper levels.

I might not be able to save every starfish on the beach, but I have definitely helped out my share. It might not make a dent from a global standpoint, but it has made a world of difference to a few.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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For the past couple of weeks, I have been reading the book The Shack by William Paul Young and discussing different words of wisdom in the book that can be applied to survivors of child abuse. See my first post for more information about the book.

I have finished the book and really enjoyed it. No, I do not agree 100% with the author. However, I think he makes some really great points that are worth considering, which is why I spent so much time focusing upon the book in my blog.

I would like to end this series by talking about the following comment:

Mack, if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again. ~ The Shack page 237

I think this is such an important message for all of us to hear – kindness matters. Every time you show another person kindness, you change the world!

I think about the kindnesses shown to me by my teachers. They are the ones who gave me the hope that my childhood was worth surviving. Today, I am an extremely active volunteer in my own child’s school as I “pay the kindness forward.” The kindness of my teachers not only changed my world, but they changed the world of all of the teachers and children that I help today.

There is an email that circulates periodically about a teenager who changed his plans to commit suicide because one person was nice to him. There is another about a teacher who learned the history of a troublesome student. That day, she stopped teaching reading & writing and started teaching children. That troublesome student grew up to be a doctor and asked that teacher to sit in his deceased mother’s place at his wedding.

Every act of kindness matters. Every smile, every kind word, and every nice thing you do for another person changes the world. You make a difference. You matter.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

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