National Day of Service

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If you want to be important — wonderful. If you want to be recognized — wonderful. If you want to be great — wonderful. But, recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.”

Monday, Jan. 19, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and also the National Day of Service.

Michelle Obama has challenged all of us to volunteer on Jan. 19.

Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are committing to renew America together, one community at a time.

Whatever service activity you organize or take part in — cleaning up a park, giving blood, volunteering at a homeless shelter, or mentoring an at-risk youth — you can help start this important journey. But this is about more than just a single day of service, it’s the beginning of an ongoing commitment to your community.

To find an event in your area, visit USA

As for me and my family, we plan to visit our neighborhood park and walk around our neighborhood picking up trash. With the strong winds we’ve been having the past few weeks, there is a lot of trash scattered about that needs to be cleaned up. I really wish I had a way to get the plastic bags out of my tree, but I think we’ll have to focus on the trash on the ground.

What will you do to help out your community on this National Day of Service?

Update: So the fam and I went out in the crazy, wild wind today (it was a good thing it was warm and sunny out) and picked up trash at our neighborhood park. There was quite a bit to be had and we filled about half of a trash bag. There was everything from beer cans (a lot) to a Starbucks cup to plastic grocery bags, papers, a hanging file folder, and various water and soda bottles.

Here are a few pics (taken with my iPhone) from our excursion:

Jody and Ava get trash out of the bushes. 1/19/09
Jody and Ava get trash out of the bushes. 1/19/09
Jody and the kids look for trash at the park. 1/19/09
Jody and the kids look for trash at the park. 1/19/09
Me and the kids pose with the trash we collected. 1/19/09
The kids and I pose with the trash we collected. 1/19/09

What will you do on Buy Nothing Day?

Traditionally in the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday” and is considered the kickoff for the Christmas holiday season. Retailers open their doors early and hold big sales in hopes of drawing in the consumers for one big day of spending and consumption! Shop, shop, shop ’til ya drop!

Buy Nothing DayYou might not be aware that there’s another name for that day – “Buy Nothing Day.” The goal of Buy Nothing Day, celebrated this year in the US on Nov. 28 and internationally on Nov. 29, is to raise awareness about unnecessary spending and consumption, not just for one day, but for every day.

Now in its 17th year, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated every November by environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in over 65 countries around the world. Over the years, Buy Nothing Day (followed by Buy Nothing Christmas) has exploded into a global movement, inspiring the world’s citizens to live more simply and buy a whole lot less.

With the current economic crisis, fear of global warming, and failing environment, this year’s Buy Nothing Day has a greater sense of urgency.

Suddenly, we ran out of money and, to avoid collapse, we quickly pumped liquidity back into the system. But behind our financial crisis a much more ominous crisis looms: we are running out of nature… fish, forests, fresh water, minerals, soil. What are we going to do when supplies of these vital resources run low?

There’s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consume less.

It will take a massive mindshift. You can start the ball rolling by buying nothing on November 28th. Then celebrate Christmas differently this year, and make a New Year’s resolution to change your lifestyle in 2009.

It’s now or never!

What do you think? Will you choose to Buy Nothing on Nov. 28 (or Nov. 29) this year? Or if you think that is too extreme, will you curb your overall spending and consumption for the holidays? One thing that might help you with this is to take the No Plastic Holiday Challenge. We’ve got 33 participants so far. Can we make it 50?

Whether or not people participate in Buy Nothing Day or the No Plastic Holiday Challenge, it is my hope that this year finds all people a little more aware, a little more conscientious, and a little more thoughtful before they buy.

My video blogging (of sorts) debut

Earlier this week I was asked to be a part of a project by Purple States called 50/50/50 – where 50 bloggers, in 50 states respond to questions about the current economic crisis. A new video is added to the site (in alphabetical order by state) for 50 days. There is also an ongoing discussion about the economy and politics in general on the site.

I’ve never done any interviews or video blogging before so this was all new to me (and, I admit, a little nerve-racking at first). I took nearly 20 minutes total video of myself (some recorded between midnight and 1 in the morning(!), when the house was actually quiet LOL and I’m nursing Julian in one of the clips too – can you spot it? Ava even got to “man” the camera in part of it) answering various questions and showing off some of my every day life. It was all edited down to a 2 1/2 minute clip.

Previous projects by Purple States were featured on the Washington Post and New York Times sites, and this particular project has the potential to be picked up by sites like, and others. I’m excited to be a part of it and honored to have been chosen to represent Colorado.

You can check out my video and those from other states on or just watch my video below.

Yes We Can, Yes We Did

Last night history was made. The United States of America elected its first multi-racial president, Barack Hussein Obama.

Jody, the kids and I had the opportunity to go to an Obama victory party held by the Boulder County Democrats. We met up with my sister Carrie as well as some friends. The energy was high, the cheers were loud. There were two big screens, food, drinks, and the place was decked out in red, white and blue. There were lots of smiles, lots of tears, lots of hugs and kisses. It felt like a New Year’s Eve party, except instead of people being donned in New Year’s accessories, everyone was wearing Obama shirts, stickers, buttons, balloons and even signs!
Woohoo!My family on election night

The crowd went wild when Colorado’s results went up on the big screens. Our great state went blue! I was proud to have done a very small part to help make that happen, making calls from home, in my car, in the Democrats office and again from home yesterday afternoon as I gave it one last push, feeling confident that no matter what the results, there was no way I could say,  “I wish I would’ve done more.”

When it was announced that Barack Obama was the next president, I got tears in my eyes. I have never been so excited about our country’s future and been so proud to be an American as I was in that one moment. I hugged Jody, I hugged Carrie, I hugged Melissa, I hugged both Ava and Julian and told them that Barack Obama would be our president!

Carrie, Jody and Julian celebrate Obama’s victory Ava with her happy balloon Julian has fun with balloons too

We listened to John McCain’s gracious and heartfelt concession speech. He really seemed to be speaking from his heart and I just wanted to give him a hug. Although I’m obviously happy the election ended the way it did, I still admire McCain and am thankful for his service to our country.

And then we waited and waited for Barack to talk. When he, Michelle, Malia and Sasha walked onto the stage, again, the crowd went wild.

Boulder County Democrats cheer for Obama

It was inspiring, as always, to hear Barack speak. He’s inspired me to get involved with my country’s future and I know he’s inspired many, many others as well. It is my hope now that those who did not vote for him will accept that is going to be the president and to show him respect. If you don’t agree with him, let him know. He even encouraged that in his acceptance speech. That is just one thing that I think is particularly appealing about Obama, that he’s so well connected. He’s on FaceBook, he sends emails, he’s on Twitter. I got a thank you email from him last night for the donations I gave and volunteering I did and that really meant something to me. I know that email went out to millions of people, but I appreciated it. I feel connected to him in a way I’ve never felt to other presidents. See what I mean? ;)

Barack and me

Barack Obama has shown me that great things can happen when people are inspired and they come together to work towards a common goal. I believe the momentum that’s been started will continue and that there are good things in store for the United States of America. Yes We Can.Carrie, Julian, Jody, Ava and me

I’m also so proud of the amazing voter turnout in this election. Thank you to EVERYONE who voted. That alone shows me that people truly care about our country’s future. If we can harness that energy and turn it all into something positive, imagine the possibilities.

“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one” — John Lennon

And now, here’s where I ask for your help. I can only report what I’m experiencing here in the USA, but I’d LOVE to know what my readers in other countries think about Barack Obama being elected president. If you live outside of the United States or you have family outside of the US, would you please email me and tell me how you/your family is reacting to this news? Please include where you live. I’d like to put together a post including all of these sentiments. Thank you!

Voting: Before and After

This post was inspired by Morningside Mom‘s cute voter makeover post yesterday.

On Thursday, after Jody and I had finally completed our monstrous mail-in ballots, Julian and I picked up Ava from preschool and headed downtown to drop off the ballots in person (and save $.59 x 2 on stamps). We drove around the block two times before finding a parking space a block away. Because this was the location of the early voting as well as the drop-off for mail-in ballots, it was THE place to be.

Before voting, I was a tired, frazzled, but ever-hopeful Obama Mama.
Tired Amy pre-voting

We went into the county clerk’s office where Ava got to put the ballots into the box all by herself. (I’m cursing myself for not taking a picture.) She was so proud and said, “I voted!” Then when we walked outside she said, “Did we just vote for Brock Obama?” :)

After voting, I honestly felt energized, excited and proud, not only of Ava for her enthusiasm in the political process this year, but of all of the people who were turning in mail-in ballots and voting early. This is an exciting time to live in!
Energized Amy post-voting

And I did get a picture of Ava once we got home, with an “I voted” sticker on.
Ava voted!

I know many of you are getting sick of the political posts here, there and everywhere. Based on the fact that I’ve had some email subscribers cancel lately, I think perhaps some of you don’t want to hear about politics on my blog either (though my subscriber #s have gone up overall so I can’t complain!). But there are only 4 days left until election day and I have to be honest, you might read a bit more about politics on this here blog before I go back to business as usual. I feel it’s my right and really my obligation to share my thoughts.

Happy Halloween to all! :) And, if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to VOTE next week!

Her first tattoo

Ava with her first tattoo 10/26/08 “Brock Obama!”

And because I have a hard time going entirely wordless I have to add that she was flashing her Obama tummy at shoppers in line at the grocery store this weekend. I could never get away with that myself, but my 4-year-old sure can. ;)

Oh, and yes, it’s only temporary.

See more Wordless Wednesday posts at the original WW home and at 5 Minutes for Mom.