Do a little better

 It’s 2010. It feels like just ten days go it was 2009….

So, like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been taking stock in last year and planning for the next, and as I thought about what I’d blogged about since last winter, I thought I would try to make some changes this year to reflect what I’ve learned. 

These aren’t really “resolutions”, they’re just ideas I’m kicking around. Plans, maybe, isn’t such a bad word for them. I thought I would share them with you because, really, isn’t that the point of a blog?

Keep up with the Sheep  One of my favorite things any year is putting together the annual collection for Sheepfold School in Haiti. However, I realize what I really want is to be of greater use, keep in touch, ask questions,  and try to make some donations throughout the year. Fr Luc signs his thank you notes “from your family in Haiti.” I would like to be a better member of the family this year. With email and my new found ability to wire money with Western Union (so easy!), I think this is doable.

Also- Fr Luc just sent me an email thanking us for the donation – Im going to post it when I get the newsletter he is sending. (I’ll scan that in too).

Learn and Post More about The DRC    In an attempt to be more educated on the subject and to give it the attention it needs and deserves I would like to post regular news items on the Democratic Republic of Congo. What continues to go on there has gotten more attention lately- notably this summer when Hilary Clinton was over there – but we need to keep talking about it. 

Doctors Without Borders has an amazing often harrowing blog  Condition: Critical   which is a great “on the ground” mulit-writer account of what’s going on in some of the war zones (and which you can fan on facebook). 

Women for Women International has that popular program where you can sponsor a woman in the DRC.  So I will consult those two sources and see what else I find.  I also know playwright Lynn Nottage’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning  play “Ruined”  is about the DRC . I’m planning to see it at OSF this year. 

Eat less meat. One thing I realized when I did food month was that a lot of our meat comes from factory farming which is bad for the environment and not very humane. I also have long realized that the meat I eat, by the time it gets to me, isn’t really meat anymore as much as a hodgepodge of chemicals and well, remember that old Wendy’s ad “parts is parts…?

I know, coming from someone who eats as haphazardly as I do, a rant against nitrites sounds weird, but as I think about it, there are plenty of reasons for me to forgo, say, pepperoni and deli meat.  I dont expect I’ll be too extreme about it, and  Im not giving up turkey burgers or turkey bacon.  Sorry, turkeys, but I don’t care if they kill you. (lol) Im going to try to cut down a lot on the beef and pig meat. I will definitely not become a vegan because I don’t want to live in a world without dairy.

 

Be pro rather than antiYou know one thing this blog has forced me to do is to try to  be true to the voice that I put forward here, the “be positive, be proactive” voice. I dont want to be a fraud, afterall, to the three or four people who read this thing. I do want to be positive and proactive.

So one thing I’m really going to work towards this year is to not get caught up in negative – for instance,  online debates – reading them or taking part in them, all the bashing and negativity and snark.  I also spend a little too much time complaining about talking heads who I’d like to smack.  There’s a place for debate and media criticism, but is that really where my energy is best spent (or at least that much of it?) . No.

And , related,  do I spend too much time thinking about what I wish I had, weaknesses, flaws? Again, ambition is good, self-criticism and self-improvement are downright essential. But is glass-half-emptying thinking helpful? No. So that’s another thing I’m working on.  Because really, my glass runneth over.

Throw away the label-maker.   It’s so hard not to put people into categories sometimes. I mean, I was talking with my mom the other day about how, already, we were  starting to label Jakers and Ryan – and they’re not even a year old! Jake is the “this” twin, Ryan is the “that” twin. I mean, sure, they have distinct personalities – but they also have many different sides to those little personalities.  And saddling them with labels before they can even walk seems a bit premature. 

 

 So, generalizing this, I want to label less. People are complex, multi-faceted. Few meet the stereotype of their demographic group. And really, who do we really know enough to accurately and completly label?  Sometimes labeling is just another form of prejudging. And one of the worst things to do may be to label yourself  “Oh, Im not the kind of person who can do that….”  That’s limiting. 

Since money talks, consider what I’m saying with what I spend.   Frequenters of this blog,  and there are probably three, know that I can babble sometimes in full-out dilettante mode about how a lot of industries aren’t too ethical about how their products are made— like how the chocolate industry uses (indirectly) child labor, and a lot of the minerals for our cellphones come from conflict regions, and there’s the thing I was just saying about the factory farming. Really, though, I know very little about these things and I don’t let what I do know curb what I buy — and I want to change that. 

In a capitalist democracy, what we buy can influence how companies and even our government act. So I’m going to pay attention more to what I buy- where it comes from, the supply chain, how it’s made, that kind of thing.It’s just a drop in the bucket, but, you know the One Page philosophy on that..

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Interview more people, see more places, give more “shout outs”   One of the coolest things about blogging the last year or so has been what I’ve learned from people who have connected with information and comments, plus the stuff I’ve learned from talking to experts. I want to do that more- hear what people have to say about things, keep learning, and make this blog a little more “interactive.”

This might be a weird analogy, but I kind of like to think of this blog as if I’m hosting a radio show – I’m sharing things I’m thinking about and learning, just contemplating out loud, and then I’m inviting you to call in and let me know your thoughts and ideas. It’s hopefully a two-way street. We’ll see.

Overall, I just hope to do a little better this year than I did last year and in 12 months from now be able to say I made the world a little better in the process, that I added a drop to the bucket. I sincerely believe we each have the power to do this. I hope you have a wonderful year, filled with blessings and opportunties to offer your unique gifts to the world.

Thanks for reading.

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