Out of my comfort zone and into my happiness zone

December 17, 2010

In about 17 hours I will be headed back to my roots and filling my life with more joy!   I know many of you will be able to relate to me because as I was out running errands yesterday I met others with same kinds of plans.

After years of volunteering with my children, I will never forget one event when my twin boys were about 16 years old.  They had just helped serve dinner to a room full of people-in-need then joined them to eat while I finished up in the kitchen with other volunteers.  The boys were sitting with an adult volunteer across from a lonely elderly man suffering from schizophrenia; they all listened to his stories like old friends and noticed the elderly man’s face as it changed from lost and sad to thankful for these caring dinner companions.  My sons look up at me from across the room and smiled with understanding far beyond their years.  

I happily smiled back as the kitchen volunteers filled more plates and we filed in to join the diners.  Then later the people in extreme-need had leaders who gently helped them back to their places.  We cleaned up the pots and pans and headed home feeling more joy with each event. 

My boys are now 24 years old and have thanked me, for their early volunteer experiences, more times than I could ever count.  As my sons have move up, down, around windy roads and on with their adult lives I marvel in their weekly words of inspiration… they joke that I started it, but I cannot even try to keep up with their studied wisdom. Yep, mom with three amazing kids and a full heart here!  ;D

For many years my children and I joined our church group’s feed-the-homeless events in our little town.  We met people from all types of living situations.  Some were just newly out of work, some had been in various shelters through-out their lives, some had children, some had battled many addictions and some had battled mental health confusion for many years but when we all sat down to dinner together at the designated church we were family.

It has been a few years since I have volunteered at a large feed-the-homeless event, and by large I mean I was expecting to find an event serving, at the most 500 people.  Tomorrow will be a new experience as I have been blessed to find an event where volunteers will be serving a Christmas Feast to an expected 1,000 and 1,500 people in need… but there is another reason this event will be extra special for me.

I called The San Diego Rescue Mission after searching the internet for feed-the-homeless programs.  When I called the volunteer coordinator to volunteer I knew I had found another special group to not only join at their event but to go a step further and write (and donate) a story to get their donation site further out to the public.  At first I thought I would just write a little story and donate it to a few publications in the area but as I found out the Mission does not take public or government funding only donations from caring citizens and found out more about their amazing people, caring services, and needs I decided to offer the story to any publication, with or without my name published at no charge of course.  They sent me over their press release to forward to publications to get their donation site further out to the media, and are so thankful for any assistance.  We are all told to use the gifts we are given to help the world…and well, I am ready spend the next few days writing their fabulous story to open more doors for our wonderful-giving society to want to get involved… so this is my Christmas gift to as many as my story can help.  I can be reach by publications at rhondaricardo@hotmail.com.  

Tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., I will be at The San Diego Rescue Mission.  I am told we will first be going out on the streets to gather those in need for the Christmas Feast.  I’m not sure how they are currently set with volunteers but you can go to www.sdrescue.org. to find information about their needs and also to donate.  If you are volunteering or dropping off donation items it is supposed to rain so be prepared …and if you see me please introduce yourself…I can’t wait! ;D

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