Just saying . . .

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Changing lives through education

DSCN4569I think this is a first for the Wishful Thinking Works blog, but my friend and former Peace Corps Volunteer, Katrina, and her friends are doing such good things in a country I consider my second home, I had to share their work with you. It’s a perfect Wishful Thinking Works kind-of story: They are making a difference, and it all began with a wish of a very special former teacher in Macedonia

Katrina and I have a lot in common, we both served in the United States Peace Corps in Macedonia; we each spent three months in the same amazing host village of Chaska, and we both have been involved in projects in Macedonia since our service ended. 

Here is the story of the Ethnic Turkish Educational and Cultural Foundation, which Katrina and others created to make positive difference in the lives of others. The words and photos are all theirs; more information can be found at their web site.

About

ETECFoundation grants provide impoverished ethnic Turkish and Roma children with the opportunity to go to school with books, school supplies, backpacks, shoes and support services.   ETECFoundation partners with K.U.D Kardeşlik, a Macedonian NGO, to provide scholarships to primary school children.”

History

“As a Peace Corps volunteer in Macedonia (2005-2007), I had the good fortune to meet a man with a vision for the children in his community, located in Strumica, DSCN4585Macedonia  Though my Macedonian was poor and his primary language was Turkish, this former teacher was able to communicate his desire to work toward his vision that every ethnic Turkish and Roma child that wanted to go to school, would be able to do so.  We shared a belief that Education is the cornerstone of peace.

In May 2007 K.U.D. Kardeşlik, a Macedonian NGO, under the Direction of Emin Eminov, created the Children to School project to target children most at risk for being unable to obtain an education: children who not only faced insurmountable economic barriers but also had only one parent or were without parents. In addition to the scholarship criteria, attendance and achievement standards were set for scholarship recipients.

For the balance of my service in Macedonia in 2007, I worked with K.U.D. Kardeşlik to obtain funding for “Children to School” through Peace Corps Partnership Program advise on organizational management to Director Eminov and the Board.  In the process we engaged the interest and support of other Peace Corps Volunteers also serving in Macedonia.  Most notably, a former school teacher working across the country in Debar, Gail Graor.  Gail visited Strumica and got hooked on the “Children to School” program and the commitment of Director Eminov.  Together we pledged to continue our service to at risk children and families in this community, through raising funds in the USA for our partner NGO, K.U.D. Kardeşlik.

In August, 2009 we obtained 501(c)(3) designation for ETECFoundation so that all contributions  are tax-deductible charitable donations.  We deeply appreciate your support of our mission to promote the advancement and education of the ethnically Turkish and Roma minorities in Macedonia.”

If you would like to get more involved, visit their web site . . .

“$788 will send a child to school for one year

$245 will buy lunch for one child for the school year

$35 will buy school supplies and a backpack for one child

$21 will buy a sturdy pair of shoes for one child”

Never, ever think that one person cannot make a difference.  And, remember when like-minded people work together mountains can be moved, lives can be changed, and the effects can last for generations!

Have a great week, and keep dreaming those dreams.

Once upon a time, Aesop style . . .

MH900403330On Fridays in July, I’m sharing short stories with a philosophical twist. I first read this story as a child when my oldest sister was sweet enough to buy me a hard cover copy of Aesop’s Fables; oh, how I loved that book. This Greek storyteller’s tales have been handed down for more than 2,500 years! They really are much more than children’s stories.  

You’ve probably heard this one many times, there are hundreds of versions, but I decided to share it anyway because it has always been a good reminder for me that might doesn’t necessarily make “right” and we all have something to contribute.  (I know we all like to believe that we don’t think we are better than others, but truth be told, we’ve all at sometime in our lives looked down our noses at someone . . .)  Here’s to not feeling too full of ourselves!

The Lion and the Mouse

A small mouse crept up to a sleeping lion.  The mouse admired the lion’s ears, his long whiskers and his great mane.  

“Since he’s sleeping,” thought the mouse, “he’ll never suspect I’m here!”

With that, the little mouse climbed up onto the lion’s tail, ran across its back, slid down its leg and jumped off of its paw.  The lion awoke and quickly caught the mouse between its claws.

“Please,” said the mouse, “let me go and I’ll come back and help you someday.”

The lion laughed, “You are so small!  How could ever help me?” The lion laughed so hard he had to hold his belly!  The mouse jumped to freedom and ran until she was far, far away.

The next day, two hunters came to the jungle.  They went to the lion’s lair.  They set a huge rope snare.  When the lion came home that night, he stepped into the trap. He roared!  He wept!  But he couldn’t pull himself free.

The mouse heard the lion’s pitiful roar and came back to help him. The mouse eyed the trap and noticed the one thick rope that held it together.  She began nibbling and nibbling until the rope broke.  The lion was able to shake off the other ropes that held him tight.  He stood up free again!

The lion turned to the mouse and said, “Dear friend, I was foolish to ridicule you for being small. You helped me by saving my life after all!”

Hope your weekend is filled with kindness and compassion and moments and ideas worth writing about or sharing with others 2500 years from now!

Nostalgia, a sweet treat we can give ourselves

MH910217038“Remember when . . . ”

Nostalgia may be as old as mankind, is common worldwide, and is shared by children as young as 7. A recent New York times article notes, “Most people report experiencing nostalgia at least once a week, and nearly half experience it three or four times a week. These reported bouts are often touched off by negative events and feelings of loneliness, but people say the “nostalgizing” — researchers distinguish it from reminiscing — helps them feel better.”

The article shares the work of Dr. Constantine Sedikides of the University of Southampton, and goes on to say . . .

Nostalgic stories aren’t simple exercises in cheeriness, though. The memories aren’t all happy, and even the joys are mixed with a wistful sense of loss. But on the whole, the positive elements greatly outnumber the negative elements, as the Southampton researchers found by methodically analyzing stories collected in the laboratory as well as in a magazine named Nostalgia.

‘Nostalgic stories often start badly, with some kind of problem, but then they tend to end well, thanks to help from someone close to you,’ Dr. Sedikides says. ‘So you end up with a stronger feeling of belonging and affiliation, and you become more generous toward others.] . . .

Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they’re sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer.

Research notes that cherishing special moments from your past can make you more hopeful about the future, and more comfortable or peaceful in the present. It can also reduce the effects of depression and loneliness.

Sounds like the “good old days” can help us create a richer present and brighter future. So brew-up some sweet memories two to three times a week this summer to begin building a reservoir of pleasant thoughts so when times get tough or a chill sets in, you can warm up your life and your heart by spending a few minutes remembering the good times.

And, don’t forget that today may someday be one of your “good old days”. Make it a great one!

To read the entire New York Time’s article, click here.

To learn more about Wishful Thinking Works life coaching

and custom workshops can brighten your future, click here.

A quick once upon a time . . .

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On Fridays in July, I am sharing short stories with a philosophical twist. (This one is in the a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words category!)

I think of them as mini-beach reads with meaning. You may have heard some of them before, others may be new, or a different version.

Each story I share, made me stop and think, and left me feeling renewed, like a relaxing day at the beach or the scent of fresh-cut grass.

Hope you enjoy them, too, and no matter how old you grow, I hope there is always someone dancing inside of you!

The upside of uncertainty

Patrice Koerper Life Coach Wishful Thinking Works

Think of it as a gift!


“Uncertainty means that nothing is predetermined.

Uncertainty means that the future is yours to shape — with the force of your will, the force of your intellect, and the force of your compassion.

Uncertainty is freedom. Take that freedom and run with it.”

Jim Kim, President at The World Bank



For help gaining purpose and perspective in your life,

contact Wishful thinking Works life coaching.

Change is possible!

A summer of once upon a time . . .

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?" "Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The granddaughter then asked, "What does it mean, Grandmother?" Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. "Which are you?" she asked her granddaughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?" Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them? ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?

For the next four Fridays, I will be sharing short stories with a philosophical twist.

I think of them as mini-beach reads with meaning. You may have heard some of them before, others may be new, or a different version. This version is from the Facebook page, “Lessons Learned in Life”.

Each story I share, made me stop and think, and left me feeling renewed, like a relaxing day at the beach or the scent of fresh-cut grass.

Hope you enjoy them, too.

Once upon a time . . .

A young woman went to her grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted …to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that when one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her granddaughter, she asked, “Tell me, what do you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her granddaughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The granddaughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The granddaughter then asked, “What does it mean, Grandmother?”

Her grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity — boiling water — but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her granddaughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

So, which are you? A carrot? An egg? A coffee bean?

Which would you like to be? Remember it’s never too late to change your outlook or your life.

Have a great weekend!

 
 
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