Friday, May 17, 2013

My New Volunteer Gig-And Other Retirement Musings

One of the things I have been missing since my move north is my volunteer life. I've always been involved in at least two types of volunteering. I have done both "easy" things from home (phone trees, fundraising organization, making quilts for injured soldiers), and hands on down and dirty projects (building latrines in Honduras, teaching sewing at a low income after school and summer program, working with Habitat for Humanity). I've deliberately chosen in retirement to travel no more than a fourth of the year (including craft fairs), and part of that reason is so that I can make a real difference in my volunteer commitments.

Since my arrival in Denver, I had been looking for a new volunteer opportunity.  Because I was visiting different churches each week, it was difficult for me to "jump in" if you will.  Now, however, I think I have found the perfect first time volunteer opportunity.  A group of churches in Denver take turns hosting a large group of homeless women within their churches. The church provides a dinner and places to sleep as well as something to eat in the morning (during the day they have another place to go to). Two shifts of church members spend the night assisting the women and keeping watch.


 This is a perfect opportunity for me in many ways. First, I prefer to volunteer WITH the people needing help rather than "for" or "to" them. Second because as a "night owl" this is something unique I can offer, and there are a shortage of people who can spend the night. Third, because this is a volunteer situation within my new church, and I will be interacting and making friends with that same group of people.  I still hope to find other ways to volunteer on a less intensive level and as always many of my sewing projects are for charity. Meanwhile, I've been able to make new connections while at the same time helping those who need it most.

In other news this warm Friday in retirement:
  • I am no longer in the cold, cold north. The weather is in the eighties.  One day was spent digging through the storage unit looking for summer clothing, golf shoes and the like. The good news is that I found a few warm weather outfits. The bad news is that son's clothing is at the very bottom and very back of a fully stacked ten by twenty foot unit.

  • It has been difficult for me to quilt, as my lovely Janome sewing machine sits on a small, basically fold out table. I had not realized how much I would miss my two six feet tables in an L shape. Quilting things of any 
    size are more difficult. On the other hand, I've committed to a couple very large craft fairs in the summer, which has meant ordering fabric, and committing to sewing! In hand with that, I've decided to hold off on any special orders not involving family members for awhile (except for some team quilted items). I'll be reverting to making what I like and selling it. In my case this means more large items, in lots of colors.
  
  • Our house hunting will probably begin in earnest in the next week or so, although Zillow has been my friend for awhile. Lists have been made of needs and priorities (my sister needs a large garden with a high fence and the dogs need a separate dog run for example), geographical requirements haven been settled and so on. The house below has been on and off the market during that time-and I frankly see no reason why. It's still on my short list as long as it remains.

  • Bob has an article over at Satisfying Retirement on what he calls "simple sizing".  I've shared right or simple sizing in the past few months that I don't need to repeat it here, except to say that priorities change and we need to change with them.  By cutting those less important expenses life becomes much more rewarding.
  • I'm reminded that in certain cases quality is more important than quantity, you do get what you pay for, and there is such a thing as an investment purchase (I write this as I compare options to replace my long dead grill with one I hope will cook everything and last many years (more on that later)
  • Finally, I'm enjoying for the most part all of the smaller things that give life reward with little costs: movie rentals, spending time with family, walking out side, sitting and reading on the patio, sewing on a beautiful day, cooking easy summer meals at home, and walking through the neighborhood art market.  All of these increase joy without money, and allow me those occasional slightly more costly things such as tonight's dinner out alfresco!  What about you and your weekend?

18 comments:

  1. What an excellent volunteer activity!
    Sounds like the move is falling into place.

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    1. Slowly but surely we are going off auto pilot and settling in.

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  2. That is definitely "hands-on" volunteering. I am a big believer in the fact that you need to put a face on something in order for it to really affect you and that is exactly what you have done. May God bless your efforts.

    Good luck on the house hunting...

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    1. I imagine it will be a slow process. Looking forward to the volunteering part eagerly!

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  3. It has been both fun and educational to read your posts as you have made the big, life-altering move to Denver. The photos help me visualize your new surroundings.

    Thanks for the mention. Simple or right sizing is a big part of any move and setting up a new life. You seem to be right on track, except for the quilting tables and your son's clothes!

    I've spent lots of time in Denver during all four seasons. I think you are going to love the summers. Unlike Texas, tornadoes and high humidity will not be your constant companion.

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    1. I think I will enjoy Denver as well, except for the closer proximity to open water and having my own pool so to speak. A beach vacation should rectify that one!

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  4. You have such a good handle on what make a "volunteer" situation good for you. I have a hard time committing to a long term situation but love one opportunity that actually exhausts me. Strange.

    Loved the simple living segment. We have moved to a smaller house within the last 2 years. We love our 55+ community that is near to a larger family neighborhood. It is perfect.

    Be well and good luck.

    b+

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    1. Thank you Barbara, I am looking forward to the changes. This house will actually be bigger than my other home, but I will be sharing it-and my sister will take complete responsibility for yard and garden.

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  5. Oh, by the way, that quilt is gorgeous. I loved seeing the whole thing hung on the line.

    b+

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  6. Barb, I worked at a homeless shelter here a couple of nights this winter. I enjoyed playing crib with some of the people and just talking to them. I am very sure you will enjoy the experience as well.

    God bless.

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    1. I think I will very much talking enjoy the interaction for talking to the women-one some level it will probably be very intimate.

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  7. The volunteering position sounds so nice for you! :) Great that you get to meet people for fellowship & friendship as well. Your quilt is gorgeous!! I'd miss a table like that as well! lol!! I have a desk and when I do big items it's *very* interesting to say the least.. haha!! Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. I realized how much I am blessed by my quilting studio.........patience, patience!

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  8. I love your wonderful pics. I also like the way you approached your volunteering. So many people get disappointed when they first try to volunteer in retirement, because they don't know what they need. I hope you'll let me borrow the concept of volunteering with people versus helping for or to them.

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    1. Borrow away! I do need to find my camera and take some more pics.

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  9. It is crystal clear that you are quickly developing a rich, satisfying new life, exactly as you've titled your blog, and therefore no surprise. I am so happy for you, and impressed at the way you continue to tackle life head on. You are a terrific example to us all that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, regardless of changing circumstances. Kudos.

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  10. Love your volunteer activity with the homeless women. My husband does that, too. The community center opens as a homeless shelter when the temperature drops below freezing. He's on call for overnight duty.

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  11. We do exactly the same thing at B's church, feeding the "homeless" and offering them a free meal. We take our turn along with several other churches around town. Our clients are mostly Spanish, almost all male ... but not all homeless. Some live in extremely crowded conditions and use this program to take a break from the overcrowding. And we're glad to provide it. It's a great thing to do, so congrats to you.

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