Generosity Report: February 2016

March 9, 2016

Generosity

It’s that time again!  I’m here to report about my #52weeksofgenerosity project.  February proved to be a bit challenging due to a very busy schedule, but I learned a good bit from the experience.  March should go much more smoothly.

So, here’s what I did:

Week #5: Organizing a Green House

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For this week, I wanted to be of service by donating my time and energy to help with someone else’s project.  My friends MaxZine and Spree have a greenhouse attached to their home.  I suggested that I would love to come out for an afternoon to rearrange the front portion of the space in order to make room for a walkway, a sitting area, and more plants.

The first thing I did was to clean the place up by sweeping the floors and removing all unnecessary items.  Then I rearranged several large planters and pots to get maximum sunlight.  Lastly, I found a cushioned, green, and metallic bench that fit perfectly in the sitting area.  I topped it all off with some lighting strewn up on the ceiling to add some warmth during the evenings.

The greenhouse looked more spacious and had more function by the time I was done with it.  I hope to go back to work on the rest of this very cool space.

Week #6:  Helping a Friend with Craigslist

BMW

I have a dear friend who has a sizable collection of household items that she amassed during her travels all over the world.  She has been wanting to pare down all of her belongings and asked me if I could give her a tutorial on how to sell her items on Craigslist.

I first started with the vintage BMW that she wanted to sell.  I taught her how to play with the photography settings on her iphone in order to post photos that made her items look more attractive to a potential buyer.  Then I went through each step of posting an item for sale directly on the Craigslist website.

In addition to the BMW, I staged several furniture pieces into a living room format and took lots of photos from different angles. Lastly, I used chalk to create artwork for a wall in her guest bedroom.

Needless to say, we got a lot accomplished over a lengthy afternoon.  We even managed to drink wine and reminisce about all kinds of memories.  I’m proud to say that the BMW I posted received a HUGE response from buyers.  Over 70 of them made inquiries within the first few hours after the post went live.  I was very happy to help my friend with this.

Week #7: Nashville Rescue Mission

I had a very hectic week and decided to make another food donation of canned goods to the Nashville Rescue Mission.

Week #8: A bicycle for my Sister

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My sister Lette’s birthday falls on the last week of January.  For the last year, she has undergone aggressive treatment for breast cancer.  To celebrate both her birthday and the recent diagnosis of being cancer free, I made a plan to get her a bicycle as a gift.  I could have gotten her a gift certificate to some trendy store or even taken her out to lunch like I have in the past.  This time, I wanted to give her a gift that came with benefits.  A cancer-free bill of health creates an opportunity to live a better life.  A bicycle provides lots of exercise, time outdoors, fresh air, exploration, and easy transportation.  I wanted to give her all of these things.

So, I did a bit of research and even took her to a local bike shop to get a sense of what kind of bike would work.  In the end, I had a friend who lived in Murfreesboro who was selling a bike that accommodated my sister’s height.  It was a vintage Gary Fisher mountain bike, and my sister has been riding it in her neighborhood ever since.

So that’s it for February.  More generosity beckons .  .  .

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Gordon Roque Live at BB King’s March 20

February 29, 2016

Creativity

That’s right!  You can catch me performing at my annual BB King’s show in downtown Nashville on Sunday, March 20, 2016.  For this set, I will be joined on stage by lots of  talent.  Percussionist Beat Darkriver and mandolin player MaxZine will be gracing my songs with layers of musical nuance and texture.

I’ll have more to announce about this show, including a free ticket giveaway in the next couple of weeks.

Feel free to mark your calendars.  Here are the details:

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This is going to be a fun performance, and I am so thankful to be able to do it.

See you all at the show.

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New Shows Coming Up for Gordon Roqué

February 15, 2016

Shows

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If there is one thing I love to do more than anything, it’s getting on a stage and performing my music in front of an audience.  You’ll get to see me play my songs in the next few weeks!!

Here are the details:

Friday, February 19, 2016
Lulu’s Coffee House and Cafe

120 E. Main St.
Watertown, TN 37184
6:00 PM
Free/All Ages

First up, this coming Friday, February 19, I will be doing an opening set at Lulu’s Coffee House and Cafe in Watertown, TN.  There will also be lively and beautiful music provided by fellow artists Spider John and Robyn Taylor.  At Lulu’s, you can enjoy shows in an intimate and colorful venue that has delicious food and lots of character.  This show is free and open to all ages.

Sunday, March 20, 2016
BB King’s Blues Club
152 2nd Ave N,
Nashville, TN 37201
Doors Open at 6:30 PM

This is my annual show at this wonderful venue in downtown Nashville.  I will be performing with the talented percussionist Beat Darkriver.  More details about this show will be announced soon.  (Including some ticket giveaways.)

I will have more shows to announce in the coming months.

Life is short.  I choose to do what I love simply because I can.
There’s no better reason than that.

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Generosity Report: January 2016

February 3, 2016

Generosity

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As I announced earlier this year, I am carrying out my #52weeksofgenerosity project throughout all of 2016.  I have the month of January all wrapped up.

Here is a quick recap of what I did for these first four weeks:

Week #1: Nashville Rescue Mission

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I donated a box of canned goods to the Nashville Rescue Mission.  This is a long-standing non-profit organization that provides shelter, clothing, and food for Nashville’s homeless population as well as recovery/rehabilitation programs for individuals facing degrading challenges.  They help many men, women, and children who are often destitute and homeless.

You can check out their website by going here:  http://www.nashvillerescuemission.org

Week #2: Water Bottle Distribution

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I spent a Saturday afternoon driving all over downtown Nashville giving bottled water to the folks who were selling our local homeless-run newspaper “The Contributor” as well as to anyone who was asking for food or money on street corners.

Week #3:  Goodwill Donation

I donated a box of household items to the Goodwill store in my neighborhood.  There were several kitchen items, clothing, and books in that box.  Goodwill employs thousands of people who have disabilities as well as individuals who have trouble keeping jobs.  I believe everyone deserves a chance at making a good living, and I am so impressed that Goodwill provides this for many people who would have less of a chance at being employed by other companies.

I also really love the business model of Goodwill and any other thrift store for that matter.  Reusing household goods and clothing is the essence of sustainability.  We reduce the waste we all create by letting others use what we do not need or want.  This is better for us and for our planet.

Week #4:  Nashville Rescue Mission

I enjoyed donating  to them so much at the beginning of the month that I decided to do it again.  Seriously, they provide a wealth of much needed services to people in need.  Their emergency housing and recovery programs are particularly impressive.  I hope to give more to them down the road.

So there you have it!!!!  Four weeks are good to go.  Only 48 weeks left?  Bring it on!!

For February, I am embracing the idea of being in service to others as an act of generosity.

Thank you all for following along.

I have much more to give.

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What I Learned From My Year of Thankfulness

January 20, 2016

Inspiration / Simple Living

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For those of you who are connected to me on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for at least the past year, you know that I published thankfulness posts for every day of 2015.  This idea was inspired by my friend Leigh in Seattle who does the same thing annually for every day in November.  I remember reading her posts and thinking about how wonderful an idea it was.  Not only do you get to honor aspects of your life that you truly value, you also get to share those things with all your friends and loved ones.   This makes them more aware of what they might be thankful for and creates a  broader cycle of thankfulness out in the world.

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I wanted to try this out for myself and decided to do it for an entire year.  On December 31, 2015, I published my final thankfulness post for this project.

Here’s what I learned from it all .  .  .

Honestly, I learned just one thing.  It’s an incredibly important thing, and it took me a year to figure it out.  I’m so thankful that I learned it well.  So, what the heck is it?

For me, what I learned is that thankfulness makes you feel happier.

Yes, it does.  This is a realization to which I can fully attest.  It was a funny “AHA!” moment to gradually experience.  As the year progressed, I noticed that I felt more joyful and positive about everything.

Seriously, EVERYTHING.

I still had my down days and frustrations like anyone else, but they effected me less severely than in previous times.

If I was to try to deeply analyze this, I might say that being outwardly and inwardly thankful reduces stress by helping you be more comfortable with how things turn out and by being more positive.  It helps you be resilient by allowing you to cherish what you have instead of drowning in a stew of negativity that makes you miserable.

So, anyone out there want to feel happier?  Here’s how I did it and continue to do so:

  1.  Be consistent in your thankfulness.  You can do as I did and make it an every day habit or you can do it every other day or every week.  The goal is to do it consistently.  The unfailing and continual barrage of thankfulness eventually chips away at your dark side.
  2. Write down what you are thankful for.  It’s not enough to acknowledge it in your mind.  Some sort of outward and external expression of it makes it far more potent.  You can do as I did and post on social media or even just maintain a Thankfulness Journal.
  3. Ultimately, make it a habit.  There are many activities we do every day that are part of the fabric of our lives.  Brushing our teeth, eating lunch, putting socks on our feet before wearing shoes, and any number of things happen while we are on autopilot.  Make thankfulness part of your life’s fabric.  Build it into the essential ways that you go about your day.  At some point, you won’t even have to remember to do it.  Hopefully, it will connect each thing you do in your life to everything else.  It will embody you.  This is a good thing.

I offer no guarantees that being thankful will actually make you feel happier every day.  I can only say that I feel happier now than I have ever been.

There will always be room in life for sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, and all other emotions we feel as human beings.  It’s just that maybe the biggest room, the one we inhabit most, can be sunnier, brighter, smile-inducing, and much more carefree.

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