My Not So Perfect But Fabulous Life

using my big words to inspire… & hopefully make a difference

Pass It On January 21, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Friends,Give Back,Hope — MDunbar @ 7:00 am

Imagine what one small thing would do...

“Pass it on” I know it sounds like a cliché but it is so true. We take things for granted in good times and are reminded, sometimes painfully in hard times, that we need one another.

I have worked with non-profits, either salaried or in a volunteer capacity, for over ten years. I know that every single thing about a non-profit is made possible through donations and support of those who believe in the cause. It has been very interesting to work at a church in these hard economic times. Two years ago the reality of the world in which we live hit home really hard. Not only was the staff stripped of most of our budget used for specific ministries but we were on a pay increase hiatus. There were many of us who opted out of a raise in order to keep our friends on staff and some positions had to be cut anyway. The people in the church were spread too thin and so they cut back in the only area they could, discretionary income. That meant some families had to cut back on what they gave or stop giving altogether. This directly effected how we began to do ministry. We had to be more creative in what we did. We had to raise funds for some of the things that were funded in better financial years. It was a difficult task and frustrating at times but we had the blessing of seeing how folks came to help. 

I went to warm up my lunch and walked through the Welcome Area to find a member who was taking her lunch hour, once a week, to come in and clean the Welcome Area. Members came up to help out with repairs. Members came to the church on weekends to help clean out flower beds and do beautiful landscaping. Members even donated materials for classes so that we could continue to offer courses. People saw a need and they helped to fill it. One person fills a need not knowing they are helping someone else meet a need. It meant so much to me that these folks cared enough about their church to go beyond and give of themselves. That is what makes my job worthwhile. Seeing people work together, seeing people come to Christ.

A young woman came to St. James to learn more about what it means to be a Christian. She took a course called ALPHA.  She started attending a Young Adult Sunday School class. She started volunteering to help a special needs child as a shadow during Sunday School class. She and a friend led the next ALPHA course. I got to be present at her Baptism, which was one of the coolest, most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. I cried.

It all started with a step. She decided to give back by becoming part of something that was bigger than she. Someone was there for her and now she is there for someone else. It’s the whole “Pass it on” thing. I wish everyone could witness the beautiful change that happens when someone finds themselves and even more, helps others find themselves. It takes every single one of us to make this all work. The volunteers offered a course that a young girl took. Now that same young girl is a vital part of the church and it’s ministry.

I realy on my family and friends and they know they can on me. I can’t imagine where I would be without them. I can’t imagine being alone in this world. The cool thing is, I don’t have to and neither do you. It all starts with a step.


A Cheerful Giver January 20, 2010

Filed under: Give Back,Hope,Joy,Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 7:00 am

In response to yesterday’s post about volunteering and giving back, here are a few suggestions to help you determine where you need to spend your time/money, both very valuable resources.

In Miller’s Book, a few of her suggestions are:

  • “What do you want to see changed in your lifetime?                                               
  • What are your passions?
  • Can you link your passions to what bothers you?
  • Can the organization, given time and money, effect the change?”

These are questions that will help you decide on where you want to give back and it makes a huge difference in your attitude if you actually care about the good works you are doing! I know all too well of the good friend who needs help on a project or donation for a cause they love. I have given our of guilt and later felt a let down because it wasn’t MY passion. My time and money are both valuable commodities in my life. When I give either of these, I make sure it is something I am passionate about and I can’t tell you how good it feels. You can make a difference, just step out in faith and do it! If you can’t find a charity or program to support (I personally think you haven’t looked hard enough. There are a million worthwhile causes out there!) you can actually start your own!

The next time you give to a cause, a cause of YOUR OWN choosing, give cheerfully and know that you are doing your part to make this place a better world.

Here are a few unique gift ideas that keep on giving:

  1. Throw a party and instead of gifts, all donations go to the charity of your choice!
  2. Have a party at an animal shelter where guests help wash the animals and give them a prime adoption look.
  3. Donate an animal through Heifer Project International, to a 3rd World Country to help them become more self reliant! My brother-in-law was single at the time and we bought a “chick” and donated it in his name!
  4. Purchase a “Good Card” at and the recipient can give that amount to the charity of his or her choice! How cool?!?
  5. Help the victims of Haiti by visiting 

My Theme Song! January 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 9:19 pm

Preach on sistah! Preach on!


Change A Life

Filed under: Give Back,Hope,Uncategorized — MDunbar @ 10:24 am

Under the bridge Ministries: Feeding the homeless one meal at a time.


Today’s reading is focused on philanthropy. This I know a lot about because I have been active in so many non-profits. I volunteer because I find it fulfilling and because I feel like it is our duty to give what we can to make this world a better place. I have been at a point in the past where I was doing way too much. One thing that caused me to pause was that I was volunteering  out of a sense of obligation rather than passion. Not so much recently though. Due to family issues I had to back off from everything. I took a year off. I am slowly getting back into volunteering. I am committed to helping the homeless thanks to some very dear folks at our church. I go on mission trips as often as I can. I am helping the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation raise funds for research. I donate artwork, calligraphy and other things as I can.  

I encourage everyone to find one thing that you are passionate about and get involved. There are so many great causes out there that I am sure you can find a place to use your talents. Whether it is time, money or talent, use what God has given you to make an impact on this world. You never know what life you might impact and I assure you, you will feel the blessings ten fold!


If by Rudyard Kipling January 18, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Hope — MDunbar @ 9:25 pm
These are beautiful words that my husband shared with me. He keeps this poem posted on his mirror to help him focus everyday. It is so beautiful to think we could be this kind of person. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son! 


I Want To Leave A Legacy

Filed under: Faith,Friends,Joy,Rest — MDunbar @ 8:55 pm

For those of you who purchased the book “Inspiration for Girlfriends…” by Miller, you know that we are on a journey to find uncommon joy. That joy that exists even when we are at our worst. Miller has told us how she copes and I have related some stories about my life.  We have been learning about “Cocooning”, a period of time of retreat in which we step back and evaluate our lives, finding out what is important and that which is not. We have even been challenged to dream in away we have not done since that time in our childhood when everything was possible.

I have made a committment to my spiritual growth and development. I know that repetition breeds habit. I want to be the best wife/mother/daughter/friend that I can be. I guess I want to be the best person I can be. In the words of Nichole Nordeman, “I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me? Did I choose to love?” I never want the people that know me, to not know how I feel about them. I know that this seems fake to some people (who don’t know me) but for the better part of my life, I have been honest. Compliments flow freely from me but they are always honest and true. I whole heartedly feel that we don’t tell the people around us, even the most important, how we feel about them and just how special they are. Everyone has something that makes them shine. You just have to find it. 

God is good. He has blessed my life with so much. It can be difficult at times to remember that when the worldly things tend to drag us down, but there is a reason for it. I don’t have time to take a couple of days to cocoon or unplug. I have too many important commitments like my husband, my children and my parents. I do have a few hours to give to myself. Maybe it is getting my nails done or sitting at a coffee shop and reading. It is a committment that I have not been faithful to and my spiritual life suffers for it. I am rededicating myself. I am taking time for me. I will say no to one thing this week and instead do something for myself. I am trying to teach myself that in doing this, I will be a better person for everyone around me.

What is one thing that you have done for yourself in the past week?


The Barbie Dream January 17, 2010

Filed under: Dreams,Rest — MDunbar @ 3:29 pm

When was the last time you dreamed? Not a nighttime dream but a wide awake, if-I-could-have-anything-in-the-world kind of dream? I know for me it has been so long. My dreams are of simple things like paying off all our bills and the kids making decent grades. These are all valid things to want but they really aren’t pie in the sky dreams or as Miller puts it, “Big Honkin’ Barbie-pink Dreams.”

Miller goes on to say, “I think women get so busy with the nits and nats of life that we fail to be still and allow God to fill our minds with possibilities.” I know I can relate to this. Constantly going from here to there and trying to balance work and family life can be stressful and exhausting. When I know I should get up and work out I crawl under the covers for just a few more minutes of sleep. I always say that life gets in the way of everything we plan. The funny thing is, it isn’t even our plan! If you think about it, when you are still, when you quit your worrying, that is when things fall into a natural balance. Not to sound to Forrest Gump but my momma always said, if you don’t follow the instruction manual, the parts are going to break down and there can’t be a guarantee.

This week I am going to make a list of three things that are big dreams for me. Things that I want to do but never get around to doing or think I can never do in the first place. I challenge you to do the same. What is just one dream that you would like to see come to fruition?