Cars With Panache | Cooper’s Not-so-Mini Contribution

This is a re-post from several years ago. A story with heart that is worth re-sharing!

Cooper is one of those cars that brings a smile to your face. Mr. and Mrs. Irwin knew a little about the make and model from not so by-gone days. They were more than happy to honor the work of a cause they respect with the car that they love! Continue reading "Cars With Panache | Cooper’s Not-so-Mini Contribution" →

Canadian Mental Health Association

CMHA ready to receive donations

The Canadian Mental Health Association has signed on with Donate a Car Canada to receive your vehicle donations.

About the CMHA

"Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. CMHA is a presence in more than 330 communities across every province and one territory. They provide advocacy, programs and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses. CMHA supports recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive."

They provide services and supports to over 1.3 million Canadians. This is no small effort! It is through the combined efforts of more than 5,000 staff and 11,000 volunteers. They work from 1 national office, 11 divisions in all provinces and one territory, and 75 community-based branches/regions.

100 years at the forefront

CMHA's mental health fast facts

Who is affected?

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem/illness.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

How common is it?

  • By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness.
  • Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
  • Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
  • The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.

What causes it?

  • A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
  • 49% of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never seen a doctor about it.
  • Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier.

The economic cost

  • The 1998 economic cost of mental illnesses in Canada for the health care system was estimated to be $7.9 billion. Cost of care: $4.7 billion care. $3.2 billion in disability and early death.
  • An additional $6.3 billion was spent on uninsured mental health services and time off work for untreated depression and distress.

How does it impact youth?

  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected. This allows them to get back to their regular activities.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children. Canada’s youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents. 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group. It affects an estimated one person in 100.
  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

Ready to give?

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Brene Brown – Empathy

Seasons, stressors, community

Brene Brown touches into something we deeply understand. Particularly at this time of year. 'Tis the season for a lot of holly jolly - and a good deal of facing into the loss of loved ones, loneliness, and "What do I really want?" uncertainty. If we're not already practicing it, this is a good time to start being an empathetic presence in one another's lives.

Brown and other mental health professionals and researchers are expanding their work into study around how we might thrive. Resilience work and positive psychology (more than just thinking positively) have found their way into practice, and that's good news for all of us.

Building our empathy muscle

A friend recently gave me the book, "There's no Good Card for This." For a gently playful smack upside the head on how-to empathy, this is a good resource. It provides the basics on caring for loved ones when things go side ways. Bonus? There's guidance on how to care for Self while compassionately supporting others.

If a book feels like a stretch, WikiHow has some excellent pointers on reaching out, and caring for self, too. In part one of their Wiki article, "Connecting with others through empathy," they offer six helpful and creative tools for moving from compassionate thought to loving action.

I particularly love part two, though: Building up your empathy. There they offer 7 ways to effectively and sustainably work this muscle. They suggest practicing curiosity, volunteering, and challenging your own prejudice. The challenge? Think outside of the box you've comfortably settled into. See the world from the perspective of your loved one, the stranger on the bus, your friend who's struggling. They go on to name things like meditation and actually attempting to walk a mile in another person's "shoes" (life experience).

We're in this together

Give Brene Brown a listen. Read Crowe/McDowell's book on empathy, or give that Wiki article a glance. Set yourself up to show yourself, and the people you care about, a little empathy this holiday season.

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Halloween

Halloween year 'round

Halloween and I have a unique relationship. Nope! It's not what you're thinking. I don't decorate or buy heaps of candy or put up special lights. In fact, I don't even typically put the porch light on in the neighborhood where I live currently. But for ten years I celebrated a version of it daily.

Kids on the block

I'm not really sure how it all started? We'd been settled into our North East Calgary home for some time - a year, maybe - and Halloween was approaching. The neighborhood children were giddy with anticipation for the coming holiday.

My own kids couldn't be stirred to any kind of interest so far in advance, but eventually we'd be last-minute scrambling for their costumes. The haul of candy from that suburb! Pillow cases brimming for all three boys. 'Come Halloween night they'd all dump their hefty sacks of treats into a giant mound on the living room floor. There, they would sort into favorites and shares and "Daddy tax" piles.

But the kids on the block were excited days in advance. For whatever reason, as a group of them were trodging past my front porch on their way home from school, one of them playfully yelled out, "Trick or Treat!" That was the beginning of an almost-daily game that we played for the next ten years.

Halloween in June

I responded to their "Trick or Treat!" with a gesture of invitation up on to the porch. Asking the little cluster of children to wait a minute, I scrambled to the pantry and found a bin of animal crackers. To their delighted surprise, I handed each of them a tiny cookie and sent them on their way.

What started as a little joke between myself and a dozen neighborhood children soon became an after-school and weekend check-in. The kids would come, randomly -- in singles and pairs and groups of five. I wasn't brave enough to entertain a neighborhood in my living room (I already had three little boys of my own running amok at the time), so they weren't allowed beyond the front porch. They would ring the bell and holler their plea for "candy." Day after day. I would step out on to the porch, often hunkering down on the step, as they told the stories of their day.

We talked of squabbles and wishes. They talked of heartache and plans. Often they brought disagreements-in-progress (so many little girls with so many opinions on one city block!). They often reached for reassurance: Am I ok? Am I safe? Lovable? Wanted? You know - the easy questions in life. Their were story books and movie chats and big questions about life.

Costco shares

Costco must rue the day we left that neighborhood. The buckets of suckers and sour soothers and animal crackers I churned out of our house! I don't know if the kids remember me, now? We left that neighborhood almost eight years ago. My husband has pointed out since that sometimes, "giving out candy is just giving out candy." But I'd like to think that a little neighborhood full of bright hearts and minds was made safer, and more connected, by ten years of hanging out on the front porch. So many treats in so many sticky little hands. Trick or treat!

Car Maintenance

From the rubber on up

This past week I got another flat tire. I say "another," because our family's primary car maintenance expenditure is on tires. We've always lived in suburbs-under-construction. That means there's always something rolling around on the asphalt just waiting for our tires to it pick up.

So, the night before Thanksgiving Monday I realized that my rear passenger tire was woefully low. And I realized I was going to need to look for tire support on holiday Monday.

To my happy (thankful!) surprise, I got right in at the shop. 9:30 am on Thanksgiving Monday and the service guys were ready to help. Given the season, I opted to leave off repair of the flat and swap on winter tires instead. They were happy to do that, too -- and then threw in a new set of windshield wipers to boot!

How much maintenance is enough?

The amount of care and money we put into our car maintenance is part necessity, part personal preference.

In a robust article written by Consumer Affairs' senior report, Aaron Sultzman, he notes that discretion needs be applied. He asks, "Are Canadian car owners being misled about how often their cars need to be serviced?"

With a spectrum of climates and road conditions across the country, car care will vary from one province to the next. Some provinces use salt to clear ice; others rely on sand. Our coastal provinces have a running battle with moisture, whereas our Northern locales experience harsh weather. Sultzman explores the line between regular maintenance and dealerships who push for more costly attention than is required.

'Tired of maintaining?

If you're swapping out an older model for something shiny, consider having us auction your running vehicle off on behalf of charity. Or, if you have a recycle ready car just taking up space in the garage, we can help with that, too! You give us your vehicle particulars and choose your charity (there are over 800 to pick from!), we'll take care of the rest.

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Pumpkin Drop

Local Pumpkin Drop is a Smash Hit

Pumpkin Drop

The annual pumpkin drop at Blue Grass Nursery was a smashing success. For 16 years the garden shop, joined by XL 103.1, has raised funds for charity by dropping pumpkins. This year Donate a Car Canada was able to join in the festivities.

Pumpkin Drop 2

Sunny skies and warm Autumn air drew a big crowd to the nursery. Three pumpkins, weighing in between 300 - 1200 pounds, were dropped in turn.

Pumpkin Drop 6

One of Donate a Car Canada's supporting tow agents helped Blue Grass out with delivery of two crush-ready cars. Cars, cranes, fireworks, and plummeting pumpkins! It was a massive coming together of skills, physics, and splatter.

Countdown to Smashing Pumpkins

300 pounds
500 pounds
1200 Pounds!

Gifting Alberta Children's Hospital

The Alberta Children's Hospital will be the recipient of funds raised at this year's event. Last year's gift to the ACH was $30,000. We're excited to hear how our joint efforts came together in 2019.

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Factory Theatre

Factory Theatre has grit. Donate a Car Canada is proud to partner with charities big and small. FT is one of our lesser-known groups. We are excited to say a bit more about them.

Factory Theatre has vision

From its founding in 1970 FT has held a commitment to Canadian stories. Their play house is a heritage building that now houses the 50-year old company.

New work and play development are at the heart of Factory's artistic vision. Factory's role is to boldly bring new Canadian voices to the stage. They do so with courage and resolve. Some voices are bound to be unfamiliar and challenging. FT's goal is for the expression of those voices to give the audience pause for reflective questions and critical thinking.

Theatre as an authentic challenge – theatre with grit.

Celebrating 50 years on stage

Artistic director, Nina Lee Aquino, notes the Factory's 50th,

"will celebrate its illustrious and resilient history with...the return of two iconic Canadian classics that premiered at Factory." And "it will bring three thrilling and immersive stories from Newfoundland, Calgary, and British Columbia to Toronto audiences."

Each of this season's shows represents a connection to all that Factory has accomplished under past Artistic Directors. These have impacted Canadian theatre. Factory’s 19/20 Season is a celebration of where they've been, where they might be headed, and where they want to be. "All the while remaining fiercely Canadian."

Heading to the factory?

Factory Theatre has a robust offering of entertainment and ticket purchase options. Check out their 2019/2020 season for the package that best suits your and yours. A great option for Christmas gifting!

Is this a group you can get behind? Visit their site for more ways to get involved. 'Have a car you're ready to donate? Consider Factory Theatre as your chosen gift recipient!

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Funny | Some Laughs to Ward Off the Early Chill

Funny is a good go-to on chill days in our Canadian autumn. For some, the winter blahs are no laughing matter. Seeking out the silly, the light-hearted, and the goofy can be good medicine all through a long winter.

Funny Fan of the Night

Bull riding isn't a sport we'd typically fall asleep at. But one hard-working dive master couldn't keep his eyes open.

"Lookit how it goes to us!"

McIntyre on raising kids

Keeping it light

A little bit of funny can go a long way when the daily news is grinding you down. Duty and making ends meet can get wearing. So, find a laugh or two each day to indulge.

Charlie Chaplin said, "A day without laughter is wasted." Are there ways that you can add levity to your life? To the lives of others around you?

I'm not a social media gal, but I have friends who regularly send me a quick text with a meme, link, or comic that brings a laugh. They're small effort can reap big reward in my frame of mind. Are there sites and sources that you go to for a giggle? Share them and spread the smile.

'Need a little help finding something new to laugh at?

Check out The Awkward Yeti and their "Heart and Brain" comic strips.

Curious about some of the science of why we laugh at all? BBC offers a glimpse into why we giggle.

Whatever your style of humor, may you find something to tickle your funny bone today!

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Autumn Colors

Autumn colors abound. We've just celebrated the first day of our 2019 Canadian Fall. Warm air, brilliant hues, and good strong winds to lean into.

Autumn colors

TripSavvy Top 10 Fall color spots

Autumn colors, coast to coast, are highlighted in TripSavvy's article by Jane McLean, Best Places to See Fall Colors in Canada. Explore our country and what it has to offer in the prairies, by the ocean, and in the mountains. Our forests are breathtaking at this time of year!

Putting on the Autumn kilometers

I have the happy luck of living near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Tonight's walk took me out to tromp in the foothills.
In a short 45 minute trek along the winding, hilly paths of Glenbow Ranch, my friend and I were witness to a dozen blue birds, ambling deer, and the distant howl of coyotes. Bear tracks were everywhere, so carefully spaced by a determined lord of the foothills. Our elevation gave us a perfect line of sight on a farmer's combining precision (such straight lines!). And my friend's dog, Chippy, gleefully sniffed all the sniffs in the prairie grasses lining the paths.

The colors in the park run red, yellow, orange, and countless greens. Berries and seeds grace varied plant life -- they, too, exploding in whites, greens, reds, and oranges. The sun set as we climbed our last kilometer. The grace of hills shrouded in one another's shadows, while some of their faces basked a few extra minutes in the evening light, was palpable.

Breathe deep. Enjoy the vibrancy and artistry of Mother Nature as autumn winds us toward winter's cozy at-home-ness.

Breaking News | When it’s in MBY

The face we turn toward our own unconscious is the face we turn toward the world. ~R. Rohr~

Breaking news close to home

This has been an unusual week in our household. Typically, effects of shootings and other violent crime are far removed from us. We can offer our version of "thoughts and prayers" alongside those of other relatively unaffected citizens. This week, a shooting at a local mall felt very close to home, and it has us talking.

One of our adult sons works in media management for a North America-wide retail store. When word of an "active shooter" reached him on a Monday evening in September, he jumped to action. He and his (wholly untrained) co-workers promptly locked the store down. They escorted customers safely out through a controlled entrance, and found their own way to safety in good time.

The first I heard about it was in the laundry room. My grown-up boy quietly came up the stairs to where I was sorting and began with, "I've had quite a day. It didn't shorten my shift, or anything," (Oh, the details we offer when we're in shock.) "but there was a shooting at the mall today."

Sometimes you just need eggs

And from there the story unfolded. As shock wore off and his body started to adjust from the grip of Adrenalin, problem solving, and emergency response, he wobbled. "I was fine, Mom. Fine. I did everything right. But this was pretty close to home." We breathed a little. He took a minute for solitude and quiet and weeping, and then obeyed my command to come downstairs and "...eat some eggs!" Once at the kitchen island, head lowered in exhaustion, his first words were, "Nothing even happened to me."

But of course something happened "to him." He wasn't threatened with a gun, or grazed by a bullet. Nor did he have direct contact with the police officers securing the mall. He was not physically harmed in any way. But something most certainly happened to him. Our conversation last night brought the wobble to the surface again, and I watched him wrestle with his emotions: he has been impacted by this.

A non-anxious presence in an anxious world

The victim of Monday's attack, and the lives of every patron and mall employee in the vicinity of that shooting are forever altered. The life of the shooter is changed. One more thread of our society's fabric has been tugged on. First responders to the scene that day will never go to work the same way again. And they may not go to the mall the same way, either. My own family's experience is a gentle story of the impact of the anxiety, rage, hostility, and just-beneath-the-surface tendency to violence that some of our fellows are experiencing.

When Rohr says, The face we turn toward our own unconscious is the face we turn toward the world, we can draw both comfort and caution.

Our intentions, our habits, our way of being in the world? It matters. If we are challenging our own implicit biases, and broadening our understanding of humanity and belief, we will contribute to peace and goodness broadly. When we nurture hate and small mindedness? Well, that's what we'll put out into the world.

If we tend to our own interior life with compassion and patience and quiet, we may find that is what we have to offer others around us. A person who does violence has turned, first, on himself. Fear and anger are in the driver's seat; the narrative in that mind is one of self-preservation and survival. There is greed and anxiety coursing through the hand that clasps that firearm.

What would it be like to be persuaded of the value of all people? The right to dignity and safety. The right to life. What if that offering of dignity begins with how we view the value of our own "wild and precious life" (M. Oliver)?

It's not easy being mean

As a (proud!) mama, I note the way of being of my son; I note that of the young man that wielded a firearm in a crowded mall. My son has worked diligently, effortfully to cultivate a life of goodness, gentleness, peace, patience. He hasn't been haphazard about this. He's thought about who he wants to be as a man; he's made consistent choices to practice a way of being that is non-anxious. "But it's hard, Mom. I feel all the feelings. Like, I can handle these crisis situations really well, but the after effects? They're terrible." And yet, he holds. He remains true to his values.

The young boy (because he was just a boy) that decided that an act of violence was the solution to his own struggle has a different process. A thousand factors and choices brought him to the mall with a gun that day. Doubtless, there has been deep suffering in his life. Certainly he has not had the know-how of applying himself to serious self-assessment and character work. But maybe this will be a changing time for him? Maybe he, too, will consider who he wants to be, how he wants to be, in this one short life? Perhaps he can shift his inward gaze to a gentler, safer, more compassionate lens, and thereby alter his footprint in the world.

I lean into the end of the week taking a little stock of what my own self-care/other-care way of being really is. Is that way altered when breaking news violence vibrates the strings of my family web? Are there ways that I can extend deeper kindness and compassion more broadly? Perhaps if I look more tenderly on myself my gaze upon the world be softer, too.