#CantStopWontStop

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Tap. Tap. Testing… Is this thing on?

Oh, hello.

It’s been three-and-a-half years since I dusted off this blog, but the whole experience of the thing has really stayed with me. In a good way. Like hugging a handsome man and getting the scent of his cologne on your clothes. Not like hearing “let it go” (or some variation of that phrase) and then having the Disney song stuck on endless repeat in your mind like you probably do now… sorry about that.

Anyway, for new friends who haven’t been here before, here’s the skinny:

This blog originally started before my 30th birthday (hence the name) as a project to go on thirty dates with thirty men. The idea would be that blog readers would choose one of the thirty and we’d go on a second date.

That started to fizzle in the mid-twenties, and at that point I changed the focus of the blog to “flirting with life”. I came up with thirty categories in which I’d like to live with more intention, blogging about them after completing goals in each area.

The categories (and corresponding blog posts) were:

Learn a Practical Skill

Do Something I’ve Never Done Before

Take a Step Toward Financial Freedom

Simplify

Visit Someone Who is Lonely

Experience Nature

Have an Adventure

Practice Self-Care

Better Myself Physically

Do Something Self-Indulgent

Teach Someone Something

Practice the Art of Letting Go

Create Something New

Connect With My Roots

Have a New Cultural Experience

Fill Up With Music

Support a Good Cause

Explore a New Hobby

Do Something that Makes Me Feel Like a Kid Again

Recognize the Honor in Someone

Work on My Bucket List

Do an Act of Service

Reconnect With an Old Friend

Create Magic From the Mundane

Make One Improvement in My Living Environment

Become More Self-Reliant

Connect With God and Spirituality

Challenge a Fear

Make a Memory With a Stranger

Risk Rejection

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Living with that kind of intention was incredibly enriching. As my next birthday approaches, I’ve gone into evaluation mode and decided that I’d like to pick up this project again with some new goals. These are based off my current list of hopes, dreams, and desires. I’ve tried to focus them around different domains (social, emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, and mental). I’ve also used different systems of  thought, like the chakra system’s associated issues, ‘cause I believe there’s lots of truth available from lots of sources.

This new list isn’t final or exhaustive (or totally distinct from the last), but I’m excited to start this journey again. I’d also really love some company. If you want to be a part of some of these adventures, please let me know and we can do things together! If you want to have your own experiences, I’d love to hear about those also.

Here’s what I’ve concocted thus far:

Expand My Artistic Horizons

Do Something Empowering

Practice Healthy Boundaries

Play

Step Outside of My Comfort Zone

Practice Altruism

Take the Next Right Step

Live Spontaneously

Achieve a Stretching Personal Goal

Explore/Investigate

Invent/Create

Collaborate

Reflect Light and Love Into the World

Strengthen a Family Relationship

Relieve Suffering/Lift a Burden

Promote Physical Health

Confront a Limiting Belief

Make Someone’s Day

Date

Surrender Something

Practice Discipline

Dream/Envision

Ground

Enhance Spirituality

Use My Voice to Speak Truth

Open My Heart to Something New

Do Something to Enhance Self-Esteem (Mine or Someone Else’s)

Flow: Eliminate a Block/Barrier

Listen

Do Something Intellectually Stimulating

Intentionally Learn From Someone’s Example

Expand My World View

Travel

I’m a few goals shy of 35, which is how old I’ll be in just over a week, so I’d love input. If you have suggestions or ideas of things (especially if we can do them together!), I’d love to hear them.

I plan to start again next week. Will you join me?

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Oh, Happy Day

  A lot of great things happened today. The sun was shining and I drove with Lucy’s windows down, I got my hair done by Magic Melanie the Beauty Sensei, and I went to an incredible movie screening with my dear friend, Winter.

As if those weren’t enough, some other happy things from today included surpassing 20,000 hits on this blog (Woot!) and sharing the realization of a pretty big goal with my friends: my very first MUSIC VIDEO is now on the web!

A few months ago, I was performing at an event for The Feel Good Music Coalition (you may recognize these friends from their “Teach Me How to Jimmer” song that went viral a little while ago). After the show was over, Richard, the father an amazing artist named Dean Risko, approached me to see if I had any music videos. When I told him I didn’t, he offered to film one for me. Richard was great and let me be very involved in the creative portion of the video. After several filming sessions and a lot of Richard’s time editing, here is the final result:

Hope you enjoy! What good things have been happening in your life?

Lots of friends, like Lindsey and Rich, came to help me film the band scene

Everyone was a good sport about the downtime

The great Richard van Schalkwyk in action

Teah’s shot in the video is pretty dark- this is her beautiful face in the light.

Food, Glorious Food

Getting set up for the masses

“How do you feel about being surrounded by all of these Baptists?” my new friend, Reed, asked me as we set up the white plastic tables early Sunday morning. The line snaked in front of us as more and more hungry people queued in the frigid temperatures, waiting for some warm food.

“I love Baptists!” I replied cheerily, watching several members of the Calvary Baptist Church donning white hair nets and plastic aprons. Other members of their congregation prepared to offer a Psalm and blessings on the food (first in Spanish and then in English) before dishing out the feast on the tables.

Reed seemed surprised. He had just learned that I was Mormon, and an active one at that. When he asked why I felt that way, I told him that I thought Baptists were good people. We only had to look around us to verify that statement.

Not far from the food tables piled with everything from eggs, fruit, and oatmeal to hot dogs and cakes, another table was stacked with warm clothes to distribute to the homeless people in line. All of it was donated (or at least collected) by members of the church. As we served the food, a cheerful woman with a brilliant smile sang and called out, “Have a blessed day!” to people as she handed them their trays.

Free warm clothes!

It was a great way to start out a Sunday morning. Over the course of about two hours, I would estimate around 300 people passed through the food line.  At one point, a man who appeared to be in his mid-twenties let out some profanity, and his friend quickly chastised him and told him to show some respect. Another woman called some of the members of the church by name, and they asked her about her daughter. One mentally slow man started to talk about something and lost his train of thought as he walked through the line. He stopped himself and said, “I don’t know what I was talking about, but I’m just so happy right now.”

Getting ready for the blessing…

…And towards the end of the morning

At the end of two hours, the cold had painfully seeped through my shoes and socks and my hands felt like ice. And that was only after two hours. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be homeless in Utah in January. It was wonderful to spend some time helping out with Fill the Pots and getting to know some very good people.

I’d recommend the experience to anyone who might be interested in helping out (see the previous post for details), and I was so glad that my new friend, Mary, told me about the opportunity. Each Sunday, the homeless in Utah are a little happier, a little less hungry, and a little more warm, thanks to the efforts of the Calvary Baptist Ministry and the Fill the Pots project. And being part of that filled me with some warmth to counteract the cold.

Mary, my new friend from the gym, in fashionable serving attire

Calling All Cooks!

.Around 8:00 AM each Sunday, the Calvary Baptist Church Ministry hosts an event called “Fill the Pots” where members of the congregation and community bring home cooked food to Pioneer Park (300 S 300 W, Salt Lake City) to distribute to the homeless.

Anything from breakfast foods like oatmeal, eggs, sausage and potatoes, to pastries, soups, and more are wonderful, and participants in the event are encouraged to bring a pot that will feed about fifty people. (Paper goods and utensils are provided, but donations are also accepted and encouraged.)

The ministry also collects clothing, toiletries, and various items that they take back to a storage facility to sort and distribute in packages to the homeless population. (They need large and extra-large clothing sizes specifically.)

I’m planning to go from 8 – 9:30 AM next Sunday, January 23rd, and would love for any and all of you to join me. Please let me know if you would like to participate so I can give the event organizer a heads up. (If you have a food handler’s permit, please have it on hand when you come.)

They are there every Sunday, so if the 23rd doesn’t work with your schedule and you’d like to help, please feel free to stop by on another day.

It would be lots of fun to do this together… hope to see you next Sunday!

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,700 times in 2010. That’s about 19 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 37 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 61 posts. There were 232 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 147mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 26th with 143 views. The most popular post that day was Week Twenty-Nine – Make A Memory With A Stranger.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, ldsspinster.blogspot.com, ajwheeler11.blogspot.com, twoplusc.blogspot.com, and blogger.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for countdown, financial freedom, flirty thirty, flirty and thirty, and count down.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Week Twenty-Nine – Make A Memory With A Stranger August 2010
6 comments

2

Week Two – Do Something I’ve Never Done Before January 2010
5 comments

3

Please buckle your seat belts and keep your hands and arms inside the ride… August 2009

4

About the Project (Updated) August 2009
7 comments

5

About Me August 2009
1 comment

You smell like beef and cheese: Subbing for Santa

Mark holding some of the boxes Darren donated

Meet Mark Moreno. He and his wife are service missionaries for a congregation of Latin members of the LDS church. Most of the people he works with couldn’t afford to have Christmas this year. In his estimate, only about three families in the entire congregation were okay financially. Many, although struggling themselves, were also helping those less monetarily fortunate in the congregation. Mark saw the need and sprung into action.

Mark organized a large-scale Sub for Santa project that involved participants from all over pitching in to help these families. I was grateful to get in on a little piece of the action.

When presented with different options, I chose the Martinez family. The Grandfather and Grandmother were taking care of their two young grandsons, who had such simple requests. While most boys their age ask Santa for XBOX, Playstation, and Wii games, the two boys in this family asked only for a sweater and a toy each.

The family was also joined by three other girls who came to live with their grandparents right before the holidays. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have the responsibility to provide for five young kids who are away from their parents at Christmastime.

Devin modeling her gift-wrapped jammies and beanie babies for the girls

Secily got a huge assortment of awesome toys for the boys

Claudine donated a new winter coat for the grandma

I was so grateful that so many of my friends offered to help the Martinez family when they learned about the Sub for Santa project. Right away, I had a few checks arrive in the mail and friends who shopped for specific items. Because of the efforts of friends like Melanie, Claudine, Secily, Heidi, Alisa, Devin, Jessi, and Darren, we were able to do a lot. Mark Moreno also delivered several items that he’d collected from donations.

When Dave helped me deliver Christmas, we had several boxes full of clothes, shoes, coats, toys, and food for the family. They didn’t speak much English, but they hugged us and expressed gratitude. One of the little girls came into the room, and her eyes grew large and shiny as we placed the presents under the tree.

Dave loading his red sleigh with presents

I just wanted to express gratitude to everyone who pitched in to help in whatever capacity they were able to help. I loved seeing so many of my friends and family subbing for Santa, doing angel trees, feeding the homeless, and reaching out to give a little of themselves this season. I learn from the examples of people like Mark, who are proactive in identifying and addressing needs around them. As these needs persist throughout the year, I hope there will be many more opportunities like this to come.

Merry Christmas, and thanks again!

Sub for Santa

Hey there, Friends! I signed up to do a Sub for Santa for the Martinez Family, who could use some Christmas help this year. I am limited on what I can do by myself, and ANY help any of you can give would be very appreciated. The family includes:

A six year-old boy who has requested a sweater and a toy (pant size: 7 shirt size: 7 shoe size: 11)

An eight year-old boy who would like a coat and a toy (pant size: 8 shirt size: 8 shoe size: 13)

A mom (skirt: extra large blouse: extra large shoe size 8.5 coat size: extra large)

A dad (pant size: 32×32 shirt size: 16.5 medium shoe size: 8.5 coat size: medium)

Please contact me if you or anyone you know might be interested in giving to help a family in need this Christmas. Hopefully, if we all pitch in a little, this could be a great holiday for them.

You guys are awesome!

-Carrie