Day of Service Honors a Memory, Fulfills a Dream and Heralds an Historic Inauguration


Photo from NBCNews

Audience member savors inauguration




Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day takes many forms for many people. I’ve always liked to focus on King’s call to all of us to serve.

When Obama said on Jan. 4th, “America’s never been about what can be done for us; it’s about what can be done by us together,”  in a White House press release, it had a familiar ring.

In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy urged us, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

In his Feb. 4th, 1968  sermon, “The Drum Major Instinct,” King said

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

The call to service is easy for all

The great thing about being of service is you don’t have to go far to offer it.

You don’t need loads of skill or buckets of talent. Connecting with an established charity, church or other community groups can do enormous good and be gratifying for you, even if you work with them only occasionally throughout the year.

In every age group from premature newborns to senior citizens are people longing for conversation, a visit or a touch. Local and global groups can help you find people in one of these groups if you are drawn to serve one of them.

The call to service is accessible to all

  • One neighborhood rallied around to help each other when someone was recovering from illness and needed a hot meal or were unable to drive and needed transportation to medical or other appointments.
  • When I owned a gift basket business, the owner of a customized cookie company recognizing that I was new to the business took time from working in her booth at the California Gift Show to sit me down and give me some great marketing advice. I will always appreciated her spontaneous and generous mentoring.

During the National Day of Service on Jan. 19th people could sign up for local projects or pledge to host an event at  or sign up here to serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  • Nancy Dixon, a junior at Quincy University,  cleaned and organized book shelves, while other students painted walls and cabinets at Quanada.
  •  Volunteers from all walks of life assembled personal care kits for U.S. service members at the D.C. Armory.
  • The Golden Gate National Parks Program invited volunteers to sign up for various tasks in California national parks.

Don’t fret if you missed participating on the 19th. Your community offers daily and year-round service opportunities.

The call to serve has many dimensions

While part of your goal is to earn a living, serving others must come first. Just as King filled a void when he spoke out for justice and freedom, so must you fill a void in the niche you serve and show flair and style in the life you live.

There are infinite ways to earn a living. The career or business you choose must be the one that fills a need within others and brings deep satisfaction to you. Even if you are working on a job that is just a stop along the way to your ideal career, give your sincere effort and best service, not just for others, but for yourself as well.

When you help others you help yourself as well. Click to tweet

To serve, King points out, all you need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Thankfully, these things are within everyone’s reach. To tap into them all you have to do is go within, believing that they are yours.

May Martin Luther King Jr. Day be a reminder to you to start your daily activities from your heart and soul, and carry out your interactions with your loved ones as well as your communications and exchanges with your job or your clients with integrity and joy.

The call to serve is the theme of an historic inauguration

To have the 2nd inauguration of President Obama occur on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday reinforces the power and reach of the office and the impact it has on many people

Big inauguration, tiny Aretha hat. on Twitpic

Big inauguration, tiny Aretha hat from 2009 inauguration @katyperry

Show Your Love, Appreciation or Deep Like in Your Own Way

Photo by Robin Hutton on Flickr

Photo by Robin Hutton on Flickr

One of the easiest ways to increase your own happiness is to express your love, appreciation or deep like for another person and celebrate in your own way.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, we are bombarded with ads directed at exchanging gifts of flowers, chocolate and jewelry between romantic partners.

Suppose you don’t have an intimate partner or want to share  your love beyond the obvious? How about expressing your feelings and reaching out to others beyond your intimate circle.

1. Help feed the hungry or homeless on Valentine’s Day, if possible. Many of these charities require you to sign up ahead of time, so you may have to book yourself for another day. Do it anyway.

2. Buy some of those kiddie Valentine greetings that come in a set of 30 intended for school kids to exchange. Then sign your name and give to your coworkers. Trust me, they may comment, but they will smile and appreciate the recognition.

3. Make something clever using one of Avery’s  free “appreciation” templates.

4. Visit a convalescent home on Valentine’s Day and spend time chatting with someone who never gets visitors. By the way, residents are not just senior citizens. There are children and teen residents there as well. Call to arrange your visit ahead of time.

5. Go through your address book and pick out someone who has made a difference in your life. Call them and tell them.