Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dear Hope: I Want to Make My Quinceanera Count!

Dear Hope,

I’m planning my Quinceanera and I am super excited.  I have waited a long time for this, it’s going to be epic.  I saw in a magazine that this girl asked people to bring toys to her Quinceanera so she could donate them.  I love that idea and want to do it too.  I love volunteering and helping people so this would be perfect, but I don’t want to do toys like she did.  I want mine to be different.  What can I do?

–       Party Time

Dear Party Time,

How exciting that you are planning your Quinceanera.  This is a wonderful time in your life and it’s so special that you want to do something to help others on your day.  It’s nice that you were inspired by the girl in the magazine.  Now with your party you can inspire others too.

Here are some ideas:

School Supplies– You can have everyone bring school supplies for the next school year.  So many children cannot afford to buy their own supplies (paper, pencils, notebooks, folders etc.).

Dog Food- Ask for dog food, blankets, toys, pillows, leashes.  You can take them to a local animal shelter.

Clothes and Blankets- Homeless shelters always need more blankets and clothes.

Food- Ask for non-perishable food items (can goods, boxed meals, cereals, etc.) to take to the local food pantry. There is a continuous need for more food to feed families.

This is such a thoughtful idea and anything you pick will be great.  Have fun on your day!



What’s Your Sign?

Sometimes it feels like everyone is wearing a big chalkboard around their neck.  It’s like it hangs there, ready for us (society) to write our idea of what we think people are and how we define them.

Chalkboard 1a

At the same time that you are writing on their board, someone is writing on your board.

Chalkboard 3a

This usually happens when we don’t know their story; we don’t know who they really are. Without taking the time to get to know someone and all they go through, we make judgments.  If we took a moment, we might see things differently; understand who they are and what they are feeling.

Chalkboard 1b

Chalkboard 3b

But let’s go beyond that! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just be ourselves?  No chalkboards around our neck, no labels.  We could just be true to who we are.  If we know in our hearts who we are, we can truly just be.

Chalkboard 1c

Chalkboard 3c

How can we accomplish this?  It only takes one person to start.


“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

― Mahatma Gandhi


Step 1:  ERASE your “board” –THROW your “board” away – Figure out YOU and just be.

Step 2:  Remember: let others be who they are also. No more us deciding who someone else is.


– NBL V –


5 Ways You Can Give Back


5 ways you can give back

Last week we talked about how awesome and important it is to help others. Check it out here: Giving Back = Getting Back

Yesterday, my mom and I were out shopping when an older man that hardly spoke English walked up to my mom and started talking to her. We couldn’t really understanding what he was trying to say at first, but after  a few rounds of charades, we figured out that he was looking for razors. My mom walked him to the razors and helped him find what he was looking for.

A few minutes after she got back to where we were shopping, the little old man popped his head around the corner asking for help finding something else.  Another round of charades began, and she helped him find what he needed again. You could visibly see how appreciative he was for her help.  It was actually pretty adorable.

No, she doesn’t work there, and no, she didn’t have to help, but why not?  It was so simple and made a difference in someone’s day (including ours).  Actually, it put my mom in such a happy mood that a few isles later she gave me a huge hug (seriously, it was so big and dramatic) in the middle of the isle. All I could do was say “okay…this is happening…”

Are you feeling inspired to give back, but don’t know how?  Here are some ideas to get your brain bouncing.

5 ways you can give back

  1. Help around your home.

    –  Offer to help your mom with chores,

    –  Offer to babysit your sibling

    – Help with dinner

  2. Help around your neighborhood.

    – Mow your neighbor’s lawn

    – Walk someone’s dog

    – Go for a walk with your friends and pick up trash you see along the way

  3. Give your time, compassion, and friendship to people.  This is one of my favorites because there are so many easy things you can do that can really make a difference to people.

    – Compliment people

    – Be there for someone who just needs a friend to listen to them

    – Tutor someone who is struggling in an area you rock at

  4. Give money and stuff.  That doesn’t mean you need to have a lot of money to do this.

    – Pay for the coffee for the customer behind you

    – Save loose change to donate to a charity that means something to you

    – Go through your closet and donate clothes and coats you no longer wear

  5. Volunteer

           – Check out the volunteering options at your local animal shelter

           –  Help collect and hand out canned goods at your local food pantry

           – Go to your library and see what you can do there

If you aren’t sure how to get started volunteering, most cities have a volunteer center you can call or go on their site to come up with more ideas.

Or, make up your own volunteer job. When I was younger, I knew I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what that “something” was.  So, I called a local senior center and asked if I could volunteer there. The next week I started reading books to the seniors. It wasn’t something that was on a list, but it was something that they really enjoyed (and I did too).  So, don’t be afraid to go after something that interests you, even if you don’t think it’s an option.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the idea of volunteering.  It doesn’t mean you have to do it all the time. It can consist of a few minutes, an hour a week, once every couple months, or whatever feels good to you.

 The thing that matters is getting out there and doing something!


– ttfn G –    &   – NBL V –


Dear Hope: I’m My Boyfriend’s Secret

Boyfriend"s Secret

Dear Hope,

I have been dating my boyfriend for six months.  It has been wonderful, well it’s been wonderful in private. He is so nice to me when we are on the phone and when we hang out at my house, but not so much everywhere else.  Like in school he barely talks to me and when his friends are around he kinda makes fun of me.  He is not really mean, but he acts like we are not dating.  I asked him about it and he says it’s nothing he just doesn’t like his friends to know his business. Why is he doing this and what should I do?  Other than that he is a great boyfriend.

–       Macy

 Dear Macy,

This seems like an uncomfortable situation for you.  I don’t know the reasons why he is doing this, but it’s not good for a healthy relationship.  This may be hard, but you need to let him know that you are not comfortable with this.  Ask him to be honest with his feelings and then give him a chance to explain to you what he is feeling.  Maybe he has a real explanation or something that he is going through.  If he gives you the same line about not wanting his friends to know his business, he is not ready to date you.  You deserve to be with someone that is proud to be with you, and not want to hide your relationship. It’s not fair to you to have a hidden relationship.  You should be able to go out in public together and hang with each other’s friends.

Dear Hope: Yesterday I Felt Sad.

Dear Hope,

Yesterday I felt sad.  I have been going through a lot with school and my job.  Trying to keep up with everything is hard and I do it, but yesterday I felt like I had enough.  I laid in bed all day and cried and slept.  I decided I need a few less hours at work because of school.  Today I feel better and I even talked to my boss about my hours and he understood.  Things are working out today and I’m happier, but I feel guilty about yesterday.  I feel silly for staying in bed all day and crying, was it wrong to do that?

–       Cry Baby

Dear Cry Baby,

There is nothing wrong with taking a day to regroup or reenergize.  Our bodies know when we need to take a break, to get some sleep, and to have a good cry.  Crying is great way to release stress.  Never feel guilty for taking care of yourself.  You said you felt like you had enough; if you had not taken the day, you might still feel that way.  Getting a chance to chill for the day and to just be, gave you a chance to think.  After processing your feelings you figured out what you needed to do and then you put your plan into action.  You did all the right things.  You listened to your body, and then took action.  Instead of feeling guilty, you should be proud of yourself.

Giving Back = Getting Back


“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”

– W. H. Auden


So true! We are all here to help each other out. Without each other’s help, there is no way we would survive this crazy, magical, scary, beautiful, and confusing world.


Why do we give back?

Give back because you want to make someone’s life a little bit sweeter.

Give back because you want someone there to help you when you need it.

Give back because sharing happiness is like sending a happy boomerang out into the world; it will come right back to you.

Give back because you want to make this world a better place.

Give back because giving is like a super power. You get to release your help and kindness and basically shout “I was here!” by showing what you can give.

Give back because you get back.

There are many benefits to giving.

It can help with sadness and depression.

It has been said that those who volunteer have improved grades in school.

You can meet new people.

You will feel good just knowing you helped do something.

It looks good on college apps and resumes.

You can learn about something you may not have realized otherwise.

There are so many reasons to help others. What are your reasons?


So let’s do it- let’s help each other out.  Let’s give back.  Give back to our communities, our families, anyone and everyone.


What can you do to help? Think of ways that you can give back!


– ttfn G –