Six Reasons I Color

Six Reasons Coloring Brings Me Joy www.learning-grace.com

I have joined the adult coloring book party.

I’d been thinking about getting one for awhile and then a couple of weeks ago my mom brought me one, along with set of 48 gel pens (glitter, metallic, neon, oh my!). This book of stress menders, sucked me in immediately.

If anyone were to take a peek inside my brain, they’d get dizzy. It’s always going. I think most people’s (especially women’s) are. It is really hard for me to stop and focus on one thing at a time. My husband is always finding my little lists on the back of envelopes around the house. I leave voice memos to myself so I don’t forget things. Focus can be hard for me.

Enter the coloring book. I kinda love it. And because it seems that folks don’t really read anymore but manage to get through lists, here are six things I like about coloring:

  1. Taking time to think about colors, what looks nice, what they represent.
  2. Watching the way the gel ink fills in the small spaces as I move the pen around.
  3. Slowing down my thoughts while I color; I’ve solved more than one problem while coloring; it just comes to me.
  4. Experiencing something that has a defined beginning and end—there’s not enough of that in my life.
  5. Using my creativity without stepping too far outside my comfort zone.
  6. Accomplishing something tangible.

I’ve been trying to do it for a bit before bed to help me relax and stop thinking about whosits and whatsits. And it’s working. It’s not a cure-all for sure, but it certainly is helping me take some time to just “be” instead of “do.”

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Helping Nepal and Giving Wisely

Along with so many others, my heart is breaking for Nepal. When images of unfathomable disaster come across our screens, we just want to help relieve the suffering we see in any way we can.

I’ve spent most of my career working for international organizations that have disaster response as part of their portfolios. And through these years I’ve seen a lot of well-meaning people send their hard-earned money to organizations that don’t deliver what they promise. I’ve also seen a lot of good intentions make things worse. So, with that in mind, I offer four qualities that I look for in an organization and its response before I give:

  1. A good investment. Look up the organization in Charity Navigator or another charity watchdog to see how it measures up. I want to see that most of the funds (at least 80%) go directly to programs.
  2. A response that starts with the community. Does the organization actually work with the survivors? Different communities have different needs and priorities. A proper response listens to what community members say is a priority. The first permanent structures may not be houses, but a community center. The location for where (or how) water should be distributed might not be obvious to an outsider.
  3. A response that empowers survivors in their recovery and gives them the tools to continue it long after the outside organization has gone. Disaster recovery is more than just cleaning up and giving survivors food, water and shelter. They need a permanent home. They need to replace lost income. They need long-term help to fully get back on their feet. There are a lot of organizations in Nepal right now that are doing the critical work of saving lives. There’s also a lot of money flowing to that work. But, who will be there this fall when the weather starts to turn cold again and people are still living under tarps? The organization that’s still there, helping people is the one I want to support.
  4. A response that invests in the community. The organization looks for local laborers to rebuild so they can get back to work and provide for their families, educates local leaders on community organizing, trains individuals with new job skills to help them better provide for their families, purchases materials locally as much as possible, and the like. Bringing in outside help without investing in the local resources builds dependency.
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