This Valentine’s Day, what will you do in the name of love?
I am having a Peace Filled heart, chocolate filled hearts were over rated!
Like many people, I’ve had good Valentine’s Days and well, not so good.
The “good” dates back to middle school, when I, like many of my classmates, anxiously created the most beautiful valentine bags to hold all the “heart” felt cards in celebration of “love”.
The bad leads back to my married days, oh don’t get me wrong, my ex-husband often did remember to buy me a card for Valentines day, but there was no “heart” or “love” on Valentines day or any of the other 364 days out of the year. So, getting a card is just not that meaningful when it’s just words on paper. Sorry Hallmark!
I love it that there’s a day in our busy lives when we officially celebrate love. I’m not just talking romantic love, like Hallmark would have us believe, but the real-deal, universal stuff-of-life that makes up who we really are. Behind all our roles and personalities and professionalism, each of us, at essence, is a living, loving being. Sure, on the other 364 days of the year we might try to fake it, but on this one day, the world agrees: Love is where it’s at. Call it spirit, call it sweetness — whatever you want to call it, we’ve all got it. It’s just a matter of what we do with it. I am sort of putting a challenge out here… can you celebrate love EVERYDAY? Not just Feb 14th? It’s something I am going to work on.
There are plenty of ways to do good and feel good this Valentine’s Day. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Will You Be My…Volunteer? There’s no shortage of ways you can help. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, animal shelter, or favorite nonprofit, or offer to tutor a child in reading or math.
2. Put the “Fun” in Fundraising. If you’re taking that special someone out for a pricey dinner, why not have your bill go to a good cause? Check your newspaper or online city pages for Valentine-themed fundraisers that support local nonprofits. Or better yet, throw your own happy hour or party, and donate the proceeds to charity.
3. Give a Little Bit. Sometimes a little helps a lot. Looking to put your money where your mouth is? If you have the extra funds donate to a cause you believe in.
4. Send Love Letters. Not just to your sweetheart, but to people and organizations that are doing good things for the world. Tell them why you respect and appreciate their work, and that they really do make a difference.
5. Reach Out to Those in Need. Deliver homemade Valentine’s cards or heart-shaped cookies to the sick, the elderly, the homeless — and their caregivers. Call a local children’s hospital, nursing home, domestic violence or homeless shelter and ask how you can donate an hour or two of your time. Nursing homes are filled with kind hearts and beautiful souls… just an hour of your time looking into their eyes means more than you can register in $$ signs.
6. Remember Those Who Do for You. Think of all those people who make your life easier and more convenient — every single day. Give a thank-you card to the bus driver or the barista who serves you your latte. Personally thank the janitor who keeps your office or campus clean, or the people who pick up your trash.
7. Clean Your Closets. Get a head start on spring-cleaning and donate clothes, toys, furniture, household items, and old computers to nonprofits accepting them. Check your local Big Brothers Big Sisters, Salvation Army, or Goodwill Industries. Lighten your load, and in the process give to others.
8. Love Your Mother (Earth). Take the trash challenge: For one day, see if you can generate zero trash. Zip, nada, nothing. No cardboard boxes, no disposable containers, no bottled water. Think of what you can reduce and re-use, and call your county or city waste management to find out about local compost programs.
9. Get Your Heart Pumping. Charity walks and runs raise money for a good cause and get you moving in the great outdoors. Bring the family or your co-workers along to make it a team event. To find an event, check your local American Heart Association or a local runners’ club. There are walks from Obesity, walks for Aids, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Diabetes and Breast cancer to name a few.
10. Adopt a Pet for a Day. Offer to take care of a pet for an ill or homebound neighbor. Volunteer at your local animal shelter to take the dogs for a walk. Or adopt an Eagle through http://www.eagles.org and you’ll get a fullness in your heart you won’t soon forget. Nature centers and wildlife animal hospital’s are always in need of helping hands.
11. Say it With Organic Flowers. Buy fresh organic blooms from your local farmer’s market, or send a bunch from Organic Bouquet, which donates 10 percent to charities like CARE, the Global Fund for Women, and the American Red Cross.
12. Be Kind While You Dine. Taking your sweetie for a steak dinner this V-Day? Choose a restaurant that sources its meat from sustainable, humanely treated and harvested animals & farms.
13.Continue to Support Disaster Relief. We don’t hear much about Haiti or the Gulf Coast on the news these days, but these disasters are in need of much support. Here are a few ideas: Adopt a Brown Pelican through the International Bird Rescue Research Center, which picks up oiled birds, cleans and rehabilitates them. Or provide direct support to those facing financial devastation due to the Gulf Coast spill by donating at Protect Your Coastline.
14. Love your Mother Our mothers give us something in life no one else can give… our life… they carry us in their womb for 9 months and bring us into the world… Thanks to all the mothers out there…
15. Celebrate with Small Acts of Kindness. Valentine’s Day isn’t the only holiday this week: February 14-20th is Random Acts of Kindness Week. What can you do? Pay for a coffee, lunch, or a toll for the person behind you in line. Tape the exact change for a soda to a vending machine. Send cards with joyful messages to strangers. Collect canned goods for a food bank. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway, or babysit a friend’s child, for free. Got any idea’s on random acts of kindness. This is also your chance to be creative… how will you show an act of love and kindness in your own creative way?
Question: Do you have a charitable idea for Valentine’s Day? Something you’re planning to do or give? Let’s hear about it! Send me a comment below. Do you have a random act of kindess idea to share? Would you like to give a shout out and just say I love you to someone randomly? Let’s hear it from you…
PS ~ This would be the ideal “love” gift …
Soaring Eagle Life Member – $1,000 donation (receive AEF membership certificate, lapel/hat pin, key chain, decal, coffee/tea mug, t-shirt, ball cap, special recognition plaque/ statue, quarterly “Eagle Extra” online newsletter, signed limited edition eagle art print & guided tour of the AEF facilities in Pigeon Forge, TN. Travel expenses paid by donor)
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