The fab 5 that keeps me going...

The fab 5 that keeps me going...
One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade. ~ Chinese Proverb

Thursday, September 24, 2009

56 lbs. ~ week 6!

I know that I am definitely on the right path in my career because I have chosen a road that allows me to talk ~ a lot. I am rarely at a loss for words, but sometimes it happens. I think sometimes people say things better than I can so I want to share other people's words for now.

Recently Peter Norback of One Can A Week, Miles Neighborhood invited me to join him at the Food Bank where the Mayor presented along with the Food Bank Manager and Richard Fimbres. You can see his article on the occasion here:

I also had the privledge of meeting Nina Tasoff, ward 6 Councilmember. She 'gets' the art of giving.

So that started my week, and this finished it:

It is an entry in the blog written by Marsha Wallace, the brainchild behind the INCREDIBLE organization: Dining for Women.

Just look at Dining for Women's Mission and Vision!

Our Mission
Dining for Women empowers women living in extreme poverty by funding programs fostering good health, education, and economic self-sufficiency and cultivates educational dinner circles inspiring individuals to make a difference through the power of collective giving.

Our Vision
Our vision is to create a new paradigm for giving - collective giving on a large scale - while maintaning the intimacy of small groups with a focus on education and involved giving. We envision small groups of women forming dinner chapters throughout the world combining their energies to improve the quality of life for women and children living in the developing world.

Ahhhh its so beautiful.

Life is So good.

I am so incredibly blessed.

See you Sunday!


p.s. I am passing out free tickets to the Greek Festival on my Sunday route (good for Sunday admission). Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On Being Global Citizens...

Every once in a while we get to be a small part of something really BIG. This was my experience recently.
Let me start from the beginning. I started my One Can A Week route down Sierra Vista, nervously approaching each home, trying to get out in one sentence and breath of what it was I was doing, when I walked up to Dory's home. Dory is a really adorable, thin and bubbly woman who stands tall and confidently. I have to admit I was a little intimidated when she stoically said she didn't want to give me her email address ~ but that she would happily be involved. I was relieved.

Every week I do my rounds and only ask for one can. But understand that Catalina Vista is a neighborhood of really incredible people. Perhaps I got lucky, or perhaps I have a second sense about where to find 'the good ones', and I'd like to think the latter, but happenstance is what it is.

After a few weeks of 'showing up' (which I have learned is the biggest part of anything we do ~ more about that later), Dory left a bag of a few cans (she really hasn't been able to leave 'just one'), and there was a yellow post-it note with her email address and a bunch of questions. As I was reading the very beginning of it, she was exiting her house down the path toward me. We chatted for a few minutes, but I was trying to be aware of her space and what I failed to recognize was that she was 'letting me in'. When I got home, I researched what it was we were talking about ~ Dining For Women.

And I was Awestruck.

This is brilliance. I knew, in a heartbeat that Dory and I would be friends.

Dining For Women is an incredible organization that has the "Global Citizen" at heart. This, as a mother of Multi-Cultural children ~ I love. I do think that we live in an incredible country with amazing opportunities. Make no mistake about that. I do also believe that we are bigger than our geographical boundaries. And this I have seen firsthand.

As we watched the short video of women all the way around the other side of the globe, with their own unique struggles (ones quite frankly we cannot relate to at all ~ lack of water, lack of electricity, no cars, etc. etc.), I sense the thread. The invisible thread that connects us all ~ each unique woman, each unique individual. We are all there because we feel this...

We shared stories, feasted on fabulous dishes from Tibetan recipes, drank wine, chatted up each other about our lives and truly connected. All the while we were connecting to our sisters on a global level. It likely doesn't get much better than this from the comfort of our own homes ~ every age, every ethnicity, every cultural background and career.... brilliance.

So for my Catalina Vista Neighbors:

Ophelia ~ I know you cannot read this as you are legally blind, however I am sending out big thoughts and prayers for your successful eye surgery!

And to all the rest of my Catalina Vista Neighbors ~ it doesn't happen without you. Each and every one of You. With just one can.

When you greet me with smiles and a "Hi Lisa!" ~ just so you know ~ it completely and utterly makes my day. That is My reward.

(Picture of my oldest daughter, Sequoia, my little Noah and tiny MeiLi)...

I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many incredible people...

66lbs. this week!

See you Next Sunday! (Remember I will be late!)

xo Lisa

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We are Growing!

Not only are our numbers growing, but we are growing as a Community ~ more involvement every week and its each one of you ~ with just one can. 56 lbs. this week! For a GRAND TOTAL of 146 lbs. to date!!!! So cool!

Recently at our staff meeting at work, I was awarded the "August All-Star" award (which comes complete with my very own parking spot!), and one of the reasons cited was because of the One Can a Week program. So I think this sign should read "All Star - Catalina Vista Neighbors!"

I can hardly contain my smiles when I walk up to a porch and there it sits - your generous food donations. Even when you forget, I really enjoy ringing the bell to say 'hi!'

Here's my two littlest helpers, my children Noah and MeiLi. Noah is a lot like me ~ he can't contain his silliness in the world. You see, a lot of things are funny, and he sees the humor in most. And Mizz MeiLi, with the capital in the MIDDLE of her name, is the smallest but not the youngest member of our brood, but certainly the Loudest. She hails from Hunan ~ and yes (if you are Chinese or have been to China you will laugh at this), she is SPICY! But her 'spicyness' serves her well. She will not be pushed around by anyone and she definitely has her own opinions. She also has no lack of self-esteem! Thank Goodness...
You see, MeiLi was left at birth on the steps of the orphanage where she would spend two years of her life. Her birthmother wanted to make sure that she would be found and taken care of. What her birthmom did not know ~ MeiLi is deaf.
Four years ago, she lay on the steps of the orphanage, and two years ago, she lay in my arms. When I picked her up, I was as terrified as she ~ although her terror was heard through screams (a complete shut down howling kind of scream like no other), and mine was in the pounding of my heart, terrified that this child didn't want me as her Mom. Little did I know, I was not in control of this ~ any of it. I was and am MeiLi's Mom since the beginning of Time.
When the orphanage staff handed me a soft little plastic bag, I put it away and figured it was a gift or perhaps a blanket of hers that I had sent previously in a package. But I was wrong.
We went back to our hotel room while MeiLi slept I took out the bag. It was the kind of bag with the plastic zipper that your children might have used to house their pencils. But inside it was something that sits in the fabric of my being.
When I opened it, I found a shirt with a character on it, some little pants (split pants - which are what Chinese babies use - they have a giant 'split' where they can go to the bathroom - no diapers), and a homemade hat. I traced the threads of that little hat, knowing that her Birthmother did the same as she made it. It was dark colors and she likely was hoping for a boy. I still cannot connect with the pain that she must have felt as she left her baby dressed in the little hat and clothes, wrapped in an adult sweater on the steps. She probably hid behind a bush and waited until MeiLi was found. And the emptiness. And the sacrifice.
Sacrifice. Wow...
I have a lump in my throat as I type this. I am certain I don't know what sacrifice is. And I still have that same throbbing, lump of a cry; a wail; an idontknowifitwouldstop kind of feeling that if I ever let it go ~ I might not be able to catch my breath.
So I send out into the Universe, to MeiLi's Birthmom ~ Thank You. Thank you, really. Thank you for sacrificing Yourself, for MeiLi. I wish you could see her laugh and hear her sleep. I hope for peace in your heart. MeiLi is bigger than Life itself, and she wants everyone to know it ~ including you. Thank you.
And Thank You to my wonderful neighbors who sacrifice the moments and groceries for a bigger cause. Life is so Precious. We only get one. Thank you.

See you next Sunday, you All-Stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!