because I said I would

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The other day, I stumbled onto this little known non-profit it’s called,”because I said I would”  The premise behind the concept is that when people are true to their word and follow through on their promises and commitments the world becomes a better place.   I tend to agree.  Also the action of writing your promise down on paper really can solidify your commitment.   I found the “because I said I would” concept completely complimentary with my Dad’s mantra “be true to yourself”, which is now how I live.

Rewind back to last year when we struggled to raise funds for our dog, Batman’s, wheelchair.  It was during that process I really understood how difficult it is to raise funds after you have tapped out your resources.  So I promised myself that I would donate once a month to a cause.  Not to a huge corporate fundraising machine, but rather to an individual or a family.   (In my mind someone that’s who really needs it and I know the money goes directly to their fund, a win-win)

I wasn’t sure how I could keep this commitment because money is so very tight.  I had to come up with an amount that I could handle regardless of what other emergency pops up, and they pop up all the freakin’ time so I settled on ten dollars.  How could I remember to give ten dollars?  My answer; ten on the tenth.

So here you have my first “because I said I would.”  10 dollars every tenth of the month to a fundraiser on ( a free fundraising site)

What will you do because you said you would?


?Question? box your stuff.

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Once a pack-rat always a pack-rat?  Could this be my fate? I am disgusted with all the crap in my new fixer-upper.

Even after all this time of moaning and reasoning, learning, and purging, there is still too much crap!  I give advice like it’s nobody’s business, yet here I am facing a mess.  And when I see it I feel like, “Damn what happened?”

What’s my excuse?  Tell me because I would  like to know.

My guess is that I am fearful.  All the self help books out there claim fear is the strongest of emotions that guide our decisions….so I must be afraid.

Afraid of what?

I am afraid of being without, even though being without is my goal.  So I have a major problem here.


I was raised in the material world, with the material girl.  I used to claim to my step sons that Madonna was my sister….they were kids (little kids), they didn’t now any better.  I also told them I was from outer-space  and that was even way cooler than being anyone’s sister.  Point being materialism runs deep in my veins.  I am ashamed to say, one of my nick names was “Shoppin’-Shirley.”

I held no limits and knew few worries.  Whatever, whenever as long as it was fun, and even better if I could buy something. My life was spinning without direction or boundaries.  Anything was possible.  Everything was an adventure.  Things were fun.  Buying was fun.  For me the late 80’s and all of the 90’s were out of control.  And I liked it!

Sorry if I am repeating myself

So fast forward to reality, ugh, do we have to?  Yes we do.  Now I am still on this quest. I call it my “journey to living better with less” but I am in a funk.  I have not reached my goals.  I am slowly pulling myself out of this funk, but that doesn’t make the extra stuff magically disappear.

Now for the: What am I going to do about it question?

I am going to start over.  I am going to the Start Here section of my blog and follow my own advice.  I may skip around the numbers some, depending what I feel like doing.  I am adding a new twist, I am going to hold myself accountable.  Astonishing right?  Accountability. Wow.

I have been lax in taking photos.  So regarding photos, I am going to try something new. I am going to take Reward photos, pictures of stuff packed-up and ready to go.  No matter where it is going.  The rule is there are only four places anything can go:

1. Donation

2. Sale


4. ?Question? box. 


The ?Question? box is new to me.  It’s my last thin thread of my holding-on tendencies   Items placed in the ?Question? pile can live there a week, and only a week.  Seven days.  After that week is up their fate is sealed.

This is my plan. If you are in the same boat maybe you too can kick-start your journey to living better with less. Wish me luck.  Cheers.

Helpful link: The January Cure.  This is a day by day plan for improvement in one month. Plus Apartment Therapy is an awesome site.


Tip: The more you put in the ?Question? box the better.

Inspiration: “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

One-day one-thing: Make a ?Question box? or area.

Sale time, yet again

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I am getting pretty good at organizing garage/house sales, and brother do I kill it with the signs.

I use Craig’s list and signs on major intersections.  That’s it.  I have a sale kit with a staple gun and signs and wire stands from old political signs.  All you have to do is take the political sign off the wire holder and turn it inside out and tape your awsome sale sign to the plastic.  So easy, and they go into the ground perfectly.

I never hold my sale if the weather is bad, and now because you can place ads for free at a moments notice that is easy to accomplish.

My signs are always florescent poster board, sometimes with added reflective wrapping paper.  It makes a difference having a great sign.  People always tell me they love the signs…lol.  Some of my best slogans are: ” Don’t MISS this SALE”  or “Something 4 Everyone Sale,”  “Best Sale Ever,” ” Turn Around Cool Items. ” Often my signs are a shapes, maybe a circle or the shape of a dresser if we have furniture.  Stars cut outs on top of the signs in a contrasting bright color also helps grab attention.   And note: If you tell someone not to “miss” something they just can’t resist.

But this sale I am going in for the kill!

Eat your heart out Storage Wars.

I am planning to have a table of “Name Your Own Price” items…..who can resist that??? Another sign will say,  ”  HAVE 2 HAVE sale” sign.   “Useless stuff Sale. ”  “TOO BIG wont FIT” Sale…. for my new house.  And a “too little SPACE Sale” sign…..”Help me I’m a Hoarder, Sale.”

I think you get the idea, I am not planning to have many more of these sales, so I am going to have fun. I am thinking I might sell sodas as well.  If it’s warm and the sun is out, I can make .75 cents a can. Plus it keeps people happy, they stay longer and might just buy something.

In our town, garage sales are the ultimate signal that summer is near.  Garage Sale-ing a ritual, every Thursday is always the first day of any sale.  People map out the sales they are going to hit and make a day of it.  I like to be open on Thursday and Saturday.  I cant stand Friday because it  is too slow and Sunday people are too cheap. We’ll see how it works out this time.

My real issue here is most the stuff I have is what I decided to keep.  Ouch.  Now I am going to have to measure each room and be realistic.  It’s going to be a challenge, especially since, this is it.  My last chance.  I am not moving all this stuff one more time, not going to do it.  Minimalism here I come.  That has been my goal all along, but talking and doing are two different things.

The tough cuts await……I have to empty the storage unit and a garage….ugh.

This was the first day of having a storage unit, it looks so naive.

And you know what’s in those three containers?  Pottery made by students and professors from Cleveland State.  More average pottery than anyone ever needs.  At the time,the pottery was the most important thing for me to pack up and protect, err to hoard.  I still love it.  Every item was made by someone learning about design and clay.   Sigh.

Tip: Price everything, people are shy and don’t want to ask.

Inspiration: “You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.” – Eric Hoffer

One-day one -thing: Remember the every decision is an action, and action is how you create change.

What Gives Me Hope

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As hopeless as the world appears to be, as down I am about the holidays and my own personal problems.  I do get nuggets of hope.

I cherish these nuggets, because in my world, they are few and far between.  I tend to question everything with this one word: Why?

Why if we have the resources, why can’t we solve problems?  Why if we have the intelligence, why can’t we solve problems?  Why isn’t taking care of people in need a top priority in our world?

We are a powerful country, a wealthy country, home to super wealthy corporations, but we seem to have become a country of people who don’t really care. It appears we have learned to blame the victims, and look the other way, as if they are not our reflection.

Society reflects itself, we are exactly what we see.

Why or what has led us to believe that it’s A-O.K. to let the homeless suffer in our streets? What twisted message have we been hearing that has warped our humanity into a callous self-righteous existence? What religion supports this?  What government supports this? Why do we support this?

There but for the grace of God go I. - literally.

Mind you, I don’t believe that we as individuals think that this is right.  But when faced with the decision as to what should be done about it we get over whelmed, we don’t know how to help, and we end up doing nothing.  And by doing nothing, we are essentially turning our backs on people in need.

I don’t have much extra money, at the moment, but I am going to NYC tomorrow, and I will be taking twenty five dollar bills and handing them out  to homeless people.  I think I will make PB&J sandwiches to go along with the money.  A simple brown paper bag with a sandwich and a five.  I want to help, I want them to know that they are not forgotten.

So where’s the hope?

Where are the nuggets I spoke about?

The “hope-nuggets”  are people I meet who do good things.  They are individuals who are standing up and showing they care.  Many I know  in person, and others I know through on-line relationships.  Those are the hope-nuggets, real live people.  Individual people who are making a difference how ever they can.

Thank you for existing. Thank you for sharing, and never give up on making someone’s life better.  You restore my hope in humanity and you inspire me to be a better human being.  I am so grateful for all of you.


Inspiration:  “A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. ” ~Gandhi

Giving Change a Chance.

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I want to be one of those people that makes a difference.  But I’m frustrated because I never get my ideas off the ground.  For whatever reasons I lack the focused dedication that is required.  I get one idea and that may get shot down or hit a road-block and before I know it, I have another idea.

I was brought to tears today because while talking about this I began to realize that maybe I am not cut out to be the facilitator. That maybe the best  I could do was throw my ideas out there and just maybe someone else would pick one up and run with it.  Maybe someone out there has the drive, the time and the focus but needs some ideas.

So that’s what I am going to do.  Every so often I’m going to un-clutter my ideas and give them away.

Here is an old idea, which I still think has merit.

Pennies4People.  During the Kosovo war I coordinated the logistics with the Red Cross and National City Bank, (now PNC bank ), to collect and process pennies which were to be donated from students at my children’s’  elementary school. I was to make the collection containers, collect the pennies weekly and drive them to the bank, and the bank would run them through their coin machines to count and then issue a check to the Red Cross.  The Red Cross, a non-political neutral entity, would use the funds to help the refuge families struggling in the midst of the war.

The concept was that elementary school children (grades 3rd through 5th) could join together and raise donation money.  Everyone has a penny, everyone could participate no matter if they were wealthy or not.  And for one penny the students would know they were helping children on the other side of the world.  I was hopeful that this program would spread through the city school system, and grow city by city.

I owned the web site Pennies4People.  Everything was in place.  That is until I received a letter from the elementary school principal telling me that the school had a Serbian family in attendance, and they thought we had to be considerate of their feelings.  This made zero sense to me.  I tried to explain that the Red Cross was not picking sides, that they are politically neutral,  the funds would be used to help everyone.  People who needed food, water, shelter.  It didn’t matter.  The principal’s answer was NO!

I was totally dejected, my contacts at National City Bank and the Red Cross were equally dismayed, but it didn’t matter. Life went on.

(c) 1999, The Washington Post. Photography by Carol Guzy. Reprinted with permission. Kosovar refugee Agim Shala, 2, is passed through a fence into the hands of grandparents at a refugee camp in Kukes, Albania- 3 May, 1999.(c) 1999, The Washington Post. Photography by Carol Guzy.  Kosovar refugee Agim Shala, 2, is passed through a fence into the hands of grandparents at a refugee camp in Kukes, Albania- 3 May, 1999.

I believe(d) in teaching our children the importance of compassion and understanding for those suffering, and equally important showing them how the smallest action can make a big difference.  I thought this was a win-win-win, if there is any such thing.  The principal shot it down, and my idea died with that rejection letter.

Since that time, many different organizations have used the fund raising term “Pennies for People.” Back then no one was on the internet with this idea besides me, but that doesn’t matter now.  I realize this isn’t the most original idea today, but that’s not the point, it’s still an idea.

So if you see anyway you might be able to use this for something good please do.  I’ll continue to post ideas.  Maybe one day you’ll read one that will work for you.  And if you do please take it and make change happen.

(Right now watching a football game in the background I thought why not have Pennies4People on any Sunday at every stadium that has a game. All those people in the stands have pennies.  Banks need good PR -Donate to homeless shelters or for heating oil for the elderly, anything – you get the idea)


It’s a S.H.E.L.L. Fund

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I’ve been a bit single minded, focused only on my self lately. This is nothing I am proud of or ashamed of, it’s just that there’s more to life then my problems. I share them in hopes to help others as well as myself , but depending on a person’s frame of mind (that day), my issues may seem irrelevant. I can’t help that and I can’t care.

But I do care about many other things in the world besides myself and my struggles. And today I am going to share a cause that is very close to my heart.

You probably know I have Siberian Huskies, and if you didn’t know, here’s their web site: Batman and Ice. My dogs are family dogs, they were purchased from a breeder and never suffered one day of their lives; pampered and loved, spoiled almost rotten. They are minimalist Gods.

Ice and Batman

It wasn’t until I met Kristen that I learned about all the abused, neglected and abandoned Siberian Huskies out there in our towns facing certain death. Kristen is an awesome lady and a true-blue advocate for the under-dog, for those dogs left to die, those who are abandoned and for those who have suffered beyond any of our worst nightmares.

When Kristen was a full time nurse, she began to rescue, rehab, and place Siberian Huskies with loving families. She found that working with the dogs was where her heart was, it was her passion. At that point she made a life changing choice. She gave up the security of a regular paycheck and all the other benefits of full-time employment. I’m not certain if she had any support for her decision. It was a bold move with a completely unknown future – that decision took a lot of courage.

(more people should follow their hearts)

Fast forward a several years, Kristen founded the non-profit Siberian Husky Emergency Life Line fund (a non-profit 501c3 tax-exempt organization) and in addition Kristen now owns and operates a boarding kennel she was able to purchase last year.

Please take a moment to look though her site, and learn about the many dogs up for adoption and those who are still in rehab. Many of my dogs’ friends were adopted directly from the Shell Fund Rescue. They’re all absolutely awesome and beautiful creatures who have adjusted wonderfully and are now living in loving homes.

Jagger, Niko and Lucas

Kristen’s expertise and continued dedication for the health and welfare, and placement of these abused Siberian Huskies is incredible and unwavering. If I been more educated before buying my dogs I would have certainly look to the Shell Fund first.

Here’s my plea:

Since this is the holiday season, please consider donating even 5.00 dollars to help feed and care for these homeless Siberian Huskies. Your donation is a tax write off and it would mean the world to me if any of my readers could show some love to this worthy cause. I know times are tough for everyone, and unfortunately in poor economic times donation are low.

Please help if you are able, really any amount is better than nothing. Maybe you could skip your latte today and help save a life at the same time. I would love that! Your small donation will help nurture these beautiful creatures until they are ready to be placed in loving homes.

Nothing would make me happier. Cheers!

“The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” -Mahatma Gandhi

I know Kristen will be surprised when she reads this, I didn’t ask permission. So Surprise Kristen!!!!! :) I hope this helps!