Thanks for checking out my blog. It's here that I plan to share with you my experiences that I hold close to my heart. Enjoy reading.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hi friends and followers, I'm on the train from Baltimore to Penn Station New York. Tomorrow I will meet up with the rest of the group and head to Istanbul, Turkey on the way to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. This is simply a trial run to see if it works. I know it's been forever since. I last blogged. Hugs, Rachel

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pondering Ideas & Working Out

Hi All,

Since I took a 6 week break from lifting shoes, my body has gone into withdraw from lifting boxes. I've since taken on a rather aggressive approach at the local gym. Today I found me telling myself that I was becoming not real fond of the weight room. I'm not sure how long this will last, but I will say I LOVE the cardio workout, running, and just tuning out with some good music. The weights on the other hand are work. I have very little upper body strength and since working out on the weights my arms do feel better so I'll keep at it. I never realized just how much work I was doing lifting 50 lb. boxes of shoes while doing the shoe drive.

Which leads me to yet another question....

If I did another shoe drive, would you be willing to help?

Ironically, my garage has shoes in it and I found myself collecting boxes while in BJ's Warehouse the other day. A little scary since I haven't officially declared that I'm going to do this again in September, but I got to put it out there.

Homework is done for the kids, but dinner is not. Off to be a Mom.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Random Thoughts

Today I woke and found this quote that said the difference between being interested and being committed are that when you are interested it requires little action on your part and you are not concerned about the outcome of said event. Being committed means that there are no excuses and action is required on your part. Interesting way to begin the day. So my answer to that question is with a question? Are you interested in hosting another shoe drive with me or are you committed?

Secondly, I have found my thoughts continually going towards Haiti. Wondering what I can do there? Maybe it's here that I need to do work for Haiti. Today marks the two year mark since the devastation that occurred there. While we we never forget Sept. 11th in our country I hope we never forget about our neighbors right down the road from us that are hungry or cold.

I know I can't solve the world's problems and my kids can all tell you when we go through our list of wants mine is always world peace. I believe in humility and ya gotta ask for what you want if you ever expect a chance to get it. Another great friend of mine used to say... "It's hard to be on top of the world when you are trying to carry it on your shoulders".

With a new year comes new thoughts and ideas. New resolutions and new beginnings. Where am I going this year? For once, I don't know the answer to that and I'm ok with that. Who knows, I may simply find the floor of my basement and de-clutter or become an organizing freak... not! One thing I do hope is that I continue to laugh at myself frequently and continue to be a good role model for my kids. I am not guaranteed tomorrow so I think I'll just make the best of today and live in it.

Ok... have a good one all

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 6th, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I've taken a good break and had a wonderful holiday with family and friends. I'm ready to get back to blogging some and am not sure how many of you are still following my posts. It has snowed a few flakes here and there in Maryland, been below 30 degrees on a few occasions and I'm simplifying and going with the philosophy of less is more and cleaning out the clutter that has massed itself in my home. If I had to move tomorrow, would I be willing to move... xyz item with me. If not, than it goes to the next lucky contestant or whoever can make good use of said item.

I want very much to do another shoe drive, but want to do some things a little differently. I have some ideas in mind and have been brainstorming about warehouse facilities and potential storage facilities as well as adding another county to the collection. Ideally, I would like to host the shoe drive each September ending around the first week in November. Still not sure that I'm game for it again, but I'm beginning the planning process.

I will be going back to Kigoma, Africa in June. Six months exactly from today. I'm excited to see the kids again and have asked my brother to go with me.

A part of me also is struggling with concern about the needs of people right here in our United States. Consequently, I have been doing a great deal of thinking about philanthropy and work involved in that aspect.

When I stop and ask God what I should do? The answer is to simply be in your own skin and be comfortable for a while. Therefore, I've been drinking a lot of tea (ginger and lemon has been a favorite) and hot chocolate. I've been doing the laundry, sorting through the mass of mess and just trying to be comfortable sitting and reading a book. It's kind of strange, but I'm living in my skin and being in the present.

Ok... that's it for now. It's Friday night and that's Pizza Night in this house.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

One Person

This is a post I began a few days ago, but I wanted to get it out. Even though the shoe drive is over, I still have lots of pictures to post, thoughts and ideas to share with people. I'll work more on my blog over Thanksgiving break. Have a safe and good time with your family and friends this Thanksgiving.

54,320 Shoes

27,160 Pairs of Shoes

17,570 Pairs of Shoes on the 1st truck

9,580 Pairs of Shoes on the 2nd truck

2,800 pairs of shoes that couldn't fit on the first truck

500 plus hours of community service from many

21 Schools

12 Weeks

10 Churches

7 Village Centers

3 Gyms

2 Colleges

1 Community

1 Person

We ALL made a difference in the lives of so many other people much less fortunate than ourselves.

Today I find myself with a lot of mixed emotions. I packed up the last of the shoes and cleaned out the warehouse. A chapter in my life closes. I have met so many incredible, kind, wonderful and hard working people. From the littlest ones that I got to read a book to sharing with them how I found out about Soles4Souls and telling them they too would be added to my list of friends to the elderly people that I helped by simply giving them a hug, smiling at them and saying "Thank you".

I could hear their wonder and amazement in the voices of so many. "Wow! Really! What was it like? Did you have fun? What was hard? Why are you doing this again? Did you ever think????" I smile and say to myself... No, God does all my thinking these days... I'm just a vehicle to share joy to others.

Today I spoke with a reporter from Patuxent Publishing Company. I found myself with tears in my eyes because I know how much joy all the shoes I collected will mean to the people that will get them. Happiness for others. Such a wonderful thing.

The best way I can describe my shoe drive/collection is that EVERY day when I would collect or receive more shoes I felt like a child on Christmas morning getting tons of presents.

So my tears were those of happiness for others and to have been able to successfully share their stories to so many members of the community in which I live in. Their message was heard from this county.

One person told me to imagine providing 1/2 of the Raven's Stadium with shoes. That certainly puts into perspective how many shoes I collected.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

There SOME Shoes Go...Here Shoes Come

Ok.. so yesterday was a little emotional for me. The first of two trucks came to pick up the shoes that I have collected over the past two and a half months. I wanted to be sure to post lots of pictures so here goes.

First the truck arrives and backs into the truck bay.

Howard from the Tasty T-Shirt Company next door was an incredible help!

Howard and the truck driver, Henry loading up.

Half done... still more to go.

Now... that's one full truck load of shoes!!

Now... a couple of things....

1. Todd knows of all people... I'll try on any hat...and sit in any seat, at least for a moment. I remember being told... "Get out of the front seat" in Dubai and it taking a few minutes for me to figure out why women can't sit in the front seat there. Gladly after Todd said so nicely... "Rachel, we know you can... now get out of the seat" I moved rather expeditiously out of the front seat of the van to the airport. Next question, who was going with me in another van/car... because I wasn't going nowhere by myself in Dubai.

2. That picture of me in the truck... Many of you may or may not know I have a great knowledge of the trucking industry and my previous exposure in working with the Department of Transportation here in Washington, D.C. I couldn't get over Boomer the latest spokesperson for Soles4Souls. So that is my "Boomette" impression! Love you Boomer!

3. The truck was late by 2 hours and my good friend Emily was able to get my younger kids off the bus for me after she helped me pack more shoes at the warehouse. She has been such a sounding board from the very beginning of this chapter in my life. When I told her I was going to Africa right before I left Emily gave me her beads to wear that a friend had brought her from Africa and told me... that I was to return them... wearing them. In other words... to be safe. We share the same birthday and have children that know how to make a difference with compassion and empathy that are the best of friends. Here is a picture of the two of us at our kids Halloween Parade... we are the fun Moms. No sticks in the mud or Debbie Downers here.

3. Close to the end of the day I was literally running across the soccer field with three kids to get Sarah to soccer practice on time. Tagging my husband Bill and saying... "You're it" and going to pick up two more drop off locations that were taking over the facility with overflowing shoe boxes.

4. The very end of the day I got a phone call from Julie Reybold, Curtis's Mom. Curtis has been at the warehouse many many days and had me in tears the day he picked up two boxes and carried them like they were Twinkies. I struggled with one box full of shoes and here he comes with two. Curtis a senior at Reservoir High School has really taken on the lead of collecting shoes and getting them to the warehouse. He has been a wonderful inspiration to me. When I asked him one day why he was at the warehouse helping me his response was... "Because it's the right thing to do." Profound. I only hope I am raising my own children to do things because it's the right thing to do.

Ok.. time to get a move on it today. Lunches to make and children to wake.

Have a great day Everyone,