Category Archives: Uncategorized

ON HIATUS ~ I’m Taking Some Time Well Spent on Self-Care (and Family Priorities)

Hiatus ~ A gap or interruption in space, time, or continuity; a break:

Since the vision for Time Well Spent first came to me in its entirety, I’ve given a great deal of myself to my concept for a wonderful new center for inspired and sustainable change (here’s a link to a 2page pdf of the concept: Time Well Spent Overview JAN 2011). At this time, personal and family obligations prevent me from working on Time Well Spent initiatives with any continuity. No worries! The concept is strong and solid ~ one that will ultimately fulfill unmet needs in a model that is sustainable and replicable (all keys to expediting positive change through socially-conscious business models, aka social enterprise).

I believe in my concept on every level, from a business perspective, and most importantly, as a catalyst for ~ and facilitator of ~ a better quality way of life for all stakeholders…for literally everyone it touches and our planet.  My business plan is 80% complete and it will keep, though impatiently, on the virtual shelf of my Word document files. Acknowledging the need for a hiatus now is difficult but necessary to the ultimate fulfillment of the vision. I guess it could be said that a hiatus is, practically speaking, Time Well Spent

Time Well Spent ~ Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk

Time Well Spent…the irony of the choice of this name for my social enterprise is not lost on me! In fact, I think it’s pretty much perfect! “Time Well Spent” is more than a name, it’s become a reminder, a warning, a lesson, a mantra…

Personally, I’m one who has thrown myself into everything I do, from running a disabilities awareness program to spearheading a grassroots community campaign for improved public safety (click here if you want to see my pre-TWS resume). The reality is that my biggest challenge is in finding balance. In fact, aside from the not-so-positive impact on my family (I won’t win any prizes for a clean house or a well-fed family, and don’t get me started on our debt from raising three kids on my hard-working husband’s single salary), the greatest consequence has been a personal health struggle as a direct result of my inability to care for myself, to find that balance, even while serving others, the community, those less fortunate.

While my story has been a decade-plus in the making, over the past year, I’ve come to a realization…a bit of an epiphany (at the risk of sounding dramatic)… Remember the story of the pebble, the rock and the brick… The truth is that it took the proverbial brick of health problems of my own and 4 hospitalizations of my parents to realize that I am NOT superwoman, I cannot do it all (yesterday). Time Well Spent will not be successful if I try to move forward with the concept now. Quite simply (actually it’s rather involved), I don’t have the physical strength right now because of a diagnosed adrenal fatigue complicated by a history of Lyme disease and all that impacts (the topic for a “whole ‘nother” blog!). As much as I want to help others, I need to take on a case closer to home ~ ME & my family!

Considering the value I put in being authentic and transparent, important to my social entrepreneurial spirit and my sense of being true to myself and others, I’m just not willing or able to sing the praises of my concept of a social purpose business called Time Well Spent while my own life and health suffer. That’s certainly not what it’s all about!

The reality is that I am a great example of those whom I wish to connect with via Time Well Spent. My mission, after all, is to (in short) help people help others and our planet in a way that is empowering and realistic. Rather than add to the burden or sense of guilt that many women (and men) feel about how much they wish they could help, how much they want to change their ways (consumer-wise and other-wise), how helpless they feel to actually making a difference….People like myself need a place to turn to for education, inspiration and empowerment while learning to understand how to practice self-care so they have more of themselves to give. So, starting with me, and hoping to share so that others may learn from my example and take heart in my story… I’m going to regroup, work on a personal health plan, tend to the needs of my family, in general, with a special advocacy role on behalf of my “older” and much beloved parents (don’t call them elderly, bless their 86 year old hearts!).

Patience V. Impatience

Patience IS a noble virtue. Still, as a social entrepreneur, I’m impatient to expedite positive change both socially and environmentally. I’m equally eager to mainstream the belief in, and support of, positive change that is propelled forward by the power and participation of a more conscious American consumer.  That being said, true success will depend on the successful creation of a lasting and growing Time Well Spent.  So, while moving forward sooner rather than later would appear to help those in need and support our environment, the truth is that the ultimate success of the concept, and the ability to help the most people and affect the most powerful change, will increase as a result of this relatively short hiatus I am taking, this “interruption in space, time and continuity.”  So, the fulfillment of my dream will ultimately rely on my patience to let the idea be as I tend to pressing matters at home, trusting in the universe, as those wiser than I point out, and believing that Time Well Spent will become a reality when the time is right, personally and in terms of the social landscape and the readiness for just the kind of information and support Time Well Spent will provide.

Lessons Learned ~ The Tip of the Iceberg

Already I’ve learned so much more than I could have ever imagined. My appetite for learning and my passion for social innovation and positive change have made the last few years a time of incredible intellectual and even spiritual personal growth for me… Slowing down is going to be a challenge! Using all kinds of restraint, here’s just a list of the things that I have learned about, love to talk about, and ultimately will blog about and share:

Social Enterprise

Social Justice

Social Innovation

Fair Trade



Conscious Capitalism

Impact Investing




Collaborative Consumption

The List Goes ON…

In the end (or should I say the beginning of this journey), all that I’ve learned has convinced me that the need for a place like Time Well Spent is very real. The potential to expedite positive change ~ helping people improve the quality of their own lives, the lives of those less fortunate and the environment ~ is great indeed.

So, while I will continue to follow the leadership of those in social enterprise and conscious capitalism and triple-bottom-line business models, I will be taking a (relatively) short time to make sure that my personal life is in order, from my own health and wellbeing to the duties which I am entrusted as mother and daughter…

Until next time, Carpe Diem!

~ Nancy/Time Well Spent


Ten Minutes Well Spent ~ Give 10 Minutes ~ 5 to Take Action & 5 to Hold Space for Those in Need ~ Families of Active Military Lost to Suicide

DISCLAIMER:This is my first Ten Minutes Well Spent post, so I expect it will take a good (really good!) 1o minutes for you to read about the concept in addition to the Ten Minutes Well Spent taking action and holding space. Thanks for taking the extra time to get up to speed along with me! This post quite intentionally includes plenty of details of how I see the concept working…These musings, explanations and info are in PURPLE… As I get it down to a system and more people are on board, future Ten Minutes Well Spent posts will be ALL about TAKING ACTION and HOLDING SPACE (for this post, that’s the stuff in black type) and less about process… BTW, if you don’t quite know what the term “holding space” means? No worries…You will!

Please give ten minutes of your time (today, this week or this coming month) on behalf of members of our active military lost to suicide & their families ~ 5 busy minutes taking action & 5 quiet minutes holding space for them in your minds and hearts.

Photo I took at the Memorial Day 2011Parade & Ceremonies in Ipswich, Massachusetts, also known as the Birthplace of American Independence.

Photo I took at the Memorial Day 2011Parade & Ceremonies in Ipswich, Massachusetts, also known as the Birthplace of American Independence. Tears I shed were for all souls who gave their lives in service to our country, including those lost to suicide.

The Major Points

The idea is that I’ll be briefly (for me) sharing the key points of a particular situation that has caused me concern as I strive to live a life of Time Well Spent for myself, those in need & the planet ~ and as I serve my mission to, in short, help others do the same.

“The Major Points” will provide a summary of the details that specifically inspired me to share the given issue as the focus of a Ten Minutes Well Spent post ~ taking considerable time and my own action, researching, blogging and sharing the story with all of those who will read it (that’s you) in the hopes that you will be inspired & empowered to give Ten Minutes Well Spent on the topic ~making all of my time spent infinitely more meaningful in terms of potential to expedite change, having a far greater impact than my one voice could ever create alone.

Realizing, of course, that life is complicated and there are always going to be more facts to the story and details and info to share, for those who wish to learn more on a given topic, there will always be links to more info and relevant organizations at the end of the Ten Minutes Well Spent post (including at the end of this, the first ever Ten Minutes Well Spent post).

So, here are The Major Points on this month’s Ten Minutes Well Spent…

The White House does not mail letters of condolence to the families of active service members lost to suicide. Though more members of our active military died from suicide than in combat in the last two years, the current policy (which has been in existence for several presidencies, so we aren’t going to expend energy on bipartisan issues) does not include a letter of condolence from the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief, to those families whose loved ones in the military died as a result of suicide.

This policy implies a message of shame surrounding our service men and women lost to suicide ~ good people who answered the call to serve and served honorably until the time that their mental health crisis led to their tragic passing at their own hands. The lack of an acknowledgment by the President ~ as contrasted with the fact that families of other fallen active service men and women do receive a letter of acknowledgment and sympathy ~ feeds the negative stigma that shrouds the suicide topic specifically, and the mental health topic, in general, reinforcing the secrecy and adding to the enormous obstacles to appropriate and successful mental health care.

The families of all fallen military who served with honor, including those souls lost as a result of suicide, deserve a letter of condolence from their President at a time of such great heartache and tragedy. I’m happy to share that there’s an effort being spear-headed by several senators to change the policy. As with all matters of policy, citizens with strong feelings on the subject are entitled and encouraged to let their opinions be known.(And, that’s the first suggested action in the 5 Minutes of Action shared below.)

Moreover, your commitment to spending 5 minutes taking action, sharing the facts on this topic, will not only impact policy. The very sharing of the topic with friends and family (aka leading by example) will encourage more open discussion and understanding regarding mental health and wellness, in general, making that topic speakable and leading to better understanding of mental health in terms of both illness and wellness. Mental health issues are a taboo that makes me think of the term, “the elephant in the room.” After all, everyone knows someone who has struggled with his or her mental and/or emotional well-being.

Removing the stigma is the first step in understanding that will lead to more compassion, and open discussions about and a better understanding of all possibilities of treatment options for mental and emotional health challenges (and, I hope, moving the conversation to comprehensive, complementary  and whole-person care that does more than start and end with prescribed pharmaceuticals). Ultimately, removing the stigma  will lead to a greater chance at improved wellness and quality of life for those who struggle with mental health challenges ~  if not you, then likely someone, or more likely several people, you know when you consider family, friends, neighbors, members of your school, work or community.

Ironically, the very souls lost to suicide for whom I am asking you to speak to the President might possibly have been saved if the topic wasn’t so hush-hush. Perhaps future lives can be spared through more open discussion and information, that those who suffer this deepest of depressions might share their emotional anguish and suicidal ideations with just one person. May those who serve our military currently and in the future receive the appropriate intervention and care for their individual circumstances before they feel such despair as to see no choice but to take their own lives.

It’s time for President Obama to change the White House policy, send letters of condolences to all souls lost during active duty, and otherwise encourage the armed forces to properly and aggressively address the mental health of those who serve and the underlying causes behind the unacceptably high number of suicides by those who are actively serving.

Now that you know…

Give 10 Minutes of Your Time…

Why? To Be a Part of the Change You Wish to See in Our World (catchy…)

Change can, and almost invariably does, start with a few people. Still, for significant and sustainable change to take place, for the proverbial tipping point to be reached to the benefit of all rather than just some, the involvement of more people, including people who haven’t gotten involved in matters beyond their own communities, is critical.

Chances are that those who get involved for the first time with matters beyond their own comfort zone, beyond their existing sense of what is or isn’t relevant to their lives, will start to see themselves increasingly more as a part of the community in broader terms, ultimately leading to the belief, the understanding, that we are all a part of the community that encompasses all of humanity. I’m not merely referring to geographics ~ from local to national to global communities ~ but to all variety of people, whether near or far, that once may have seemed so very different ~ whether by gender, lifestyle choices, socio-economic upbringing, areas of challenge or interests ~ and the realization that we are, after all, more like than unlike one another at the most basic level. Fundamentally, this is a core belief of mine. In fact, I believe a key to inspired action is this sense of human connection at an inspired level of compassion that will lead to the brighter and more hopeful future that we are capable of co-creating with one another and the universe.

Since this is the first Ten Minutes Well Spent post, I hope this helps illustrate why my hope is that everyone reading this will make a commitment to give ten minutes of your time, well spent on this topic, and each future topic that I share (so long as you don’t disagree with it, of course). Whether you’ve been involved in socially conscious activism or not, whether you are spiritually motivated or not, I think this is an incredibly important time and a surprisingly easy way to make a difference, not only in the lives of those in need, but in your own life.

While the impact of your commitment is beyond measure, it would be great if you would leave a comment at the end of this post, voicing your intent to give Ten Minutes Well Spent so that I can have some idea of the number of people who are participating. That being said, spending 10 minutes without adding your name is cool, too.

Bottom line is this ~ IF you are moved by the topic, giving Ten Minutes Well Spent is an easy but meaningful way to do something about it…

Regarding the 10 Minutes ~ No Worries ~ NO Timers Needed

Of course, don’t stress about the exact number of minutes! That’s not the idea… The point is to quite intentionally keep it around ten minutes, rather than going off willy-nilly, spending the entire day posting all over the place, following an emotionally-charged internet surf of best intentions, finding all kinds of worthwhile but overwhelming info, neglecting the rest of your to-do list, forgetting to feed your family…Yes, I know of what I speak ~ In fact, I’ve done it, more than once! In a way, it’s actually part of my self-declared life’s work as a changemaker and conscious living catalyst. I get all “in over my head” on topics that I’m passionate about and then I package it up so that you will feel empowered and uplifted, rather than burdened and overwhelmed. Getting involved with the Ten Minutes Well Spent efforts will help people to be the change, lead by example and walk the talk ~ all important aspects of living a life of Time Well Spent.

In fact, creating Ten Minutes Well Spent (though it takes longer than 10 minutes to create!) is my way of getting my own personal commitment to spiritual and conscious consumer & citizen activism under control at this point in my life when other family and personal obligations take a fair amount of my time (read my hiatus post if you want to know more about my current situation).

But enough about the impact of the Ten Minutes Well Spent concept on you and on me…

Back to these 10 Minutes Well Spent…

If you agree with me and feel that the families mourning the loss of their loved ones to suicide during their military service should receive condolences from the President of the United States, indeed the Commander in Chief of their beloved family member, please put a small but meaningful amount of time in on this topic by spending 10 minutes right now or by setting aside 10 minutes on your schedule this week or in the coming month to take action and to hold space. “Sooner is better than later” as life moves at its too-hectic pace, but “better later than never” certainly applies…

Find 5 Minutes to Take Action:

Choose any or all of the below actions or follow your own inspiration and take action as you see fit. (I’d love to hear about alternate actions and I might even add them to the list, so please feel free to share any alternate actions you take as a comment to this post.)

DIRECT ACTION: Email the President

Not surprisingly, you actually can’t send an email. Instead, you have to fill out a contact form. Here’s the link: .

Fill in the info requested (name, email address and zipcode are all that are required) and, under the subject, select “Afghanistan and Iraq” (that’s the only heading for commenting on policy that relates to our military) and then simply copy and paste the following message (or write your own). By using the form letter, you can spend the rest of your 5 minutes sharing the topic with others.

“I support the US Senators who recently wrote to you regarding the White House’s current position on not sending condolence letters to military families who lose loved ones to suicide. Mr. President, please say no to the stigma associated with mental health issues and suicide and share your condolences with the families suffering through the loss of their loved ones to suicide. Please update the policy now to include an appropriately worded letter, showing both respect and compassion, to the families of military lost during active duty to suicide.”

If you prefer to leave a voice message, you can call the White House at 202-456-111. The phone line is open M-F, 9am-5pm (EDT), excluding holidays.


The American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide posted about the issue on their facebook page  and shared their online “event” ~ Signing on to the virtual event (which runs through June 3rd) simply and publicly shares that you’ve contacted the president regarding the policy. It’s a great way to show your commitment to the support of those in our military lost to suicide.

Visit the event page, sign on and share the link with fb friends.


As is often the case when it comes to social media and socially conscious choices, SHARING really is CARING and can multiply the impact of your time spent exponentially… Share however you choose. Email friends and family, or share on facebook, twitter, or whichever social media platforms you are tapped into. When you post to FB or twitter, provide a link and encourage folks to “hit the share button” or “retweet.” Truly that’s how messages go viral, (which goes way beyond just being cool as in the case of cute little videos of wedding dances and such that go viral) as it results in the maximum impact on topics of concern. No doubt, in the case of the TEN Minutes Well Spent topic, sharing is caring. Instead of just one letter to White House, share with your internet world and you will never know how many letters are sent to President Obama on the topic because you, and others like you, had the courage to share.

Share from your own heart & with your own words or cut/paste/adapt these suggested posts. (Remember, the idea isn’t to spend so much time that it becomes a heavy burden…It’s part of your day, just 10 minutes well spent on this important & timely issue that you have the power to do something about, so you can focus the rest of the day on your own ongoing self-care, family, work and life-balance issues.)

Post to your FB PAGE

Here are 2 suggested posts…copy/paste/modify as you choose or write your own:

I am giving 10 Minutes Well Spent on behalf of our active military lost to suicide. 5 minutes to tell President Obama I think he should send condolence letters to the families of those active military lost to suicide and to share the info with my fb friends & 5 minutes to hold space ~ praying/meditating/sending energy to the families for peace/strength/love during such a difficult time.


I just sent a message urging the President to change the “no condolence letter from the White House to active military lost to suicide” policy in place through the last several presidencies. Join me in taking action & holding space for those members of the active military lost to suicide & their families. Click on the link for details & hit the share button to spread the word. Thank you.

Choose a link to include with your post:

The CNN article:

The AFSP event:

Or, this blog post:

And/Or, Tweet All About It

Twitter is a crazy world. If you are a part of that world, you already know that the twitter stream is very fleeting. Without much effort, if you modify your post just a bit and tweet it at a couple of different times throughout the day, you can reach more people. Also, use hashtags to reach out beyond your followers.

Hashtags that would apply to this Ten Minutes Well Spent: #suicide #whitehouse #Obama #military #mentalhealth #EndTheStigma #MemorialDay

Here are some possible tweets for you to copy/paste/modify:

Remember our #military lost 2 suicide. Email President, share, & #pray #meditate 4 souls lost & family that remains.


Urge #Obama 2 update policy & send condolence letters 2 families of active duty #military lost 2 #suicide. Pls RT


#BlogPost ~ Give 10 minutes 2 Take Action & Hold Space on behalf of our active #military lost 2 #suicide. Pls RT

Next…And, every bit as important…

Take 5 minutes to Hold Space

Hold Space…hmmm… Not sure what that’s all about? No worries. This isn’t about getting it just right. It’s not about a philosophical discussion about just what the term “holding space” means to one person as opposed to the next. I use the term for the vague and broad meaning that it implies…

“Holding Space” is less emotionally charged than the term prayer (I grew up Catholic in Massachusetts. It’s only thanks to A Course in Miracles that I can use the word prayer at age 45).  I am happy I’ve reached a place where I see prayer as a wonderful form of putting your trust in the universe regarding your world-weary concerns and hopes for anyone, and everyone, you care about…

“Holding Space” is less about the breathing and relaxation and stereotypically self-focused mantra and attention to nothingness that the term meditation conjures up for many (Also, based on partial understanding and misunderstanding as there’s so much more to meditation that many westerners have yet to learn ~ though I hope they will because I am just tapping into the world of meditation and it’s already helped me to reduce my anxiety and find balance, peach and strength…).

There’s the whole “The Secret” world of energy, vibrations, positive thoughts and intention… Cool stuff, but too often mistaken for only thinking happy thoughts and wishing for good stuff to land in your lap… (not quite the idea but I am glad for the discussion and awakening it has facilitated…).

There’s even a deeper discussion of atonement for past suffering as well as meditations that involve taking on the current suffering that exists…but, that’s a deeper level of consciousness than I think makes sense for Ten Minutes Well Spent, preferring to focus on 5 minutes that will allow many people to feel ready, willing and able to “hold space” on the current topic of our attention, no matter their past experience or lack thereof with the idea of prayer/meditation/focused thoughts and energy.

So, indeed, let’s just stick with Holding Space. There’s a space…We are going to hold it… What next? That’s up to you. No really! A cool thing about spirituality as opposed to religion, defining how you hold space is really just between you and your higher self, the universe, the divine truth, you might even say God… You say potato, I say potAHto…

To me, regardless of your spiritual beliefs, let alone your religious leanings or lack thereof, holding space is about focusing your mind, heart and soul on someone, or many, outside of yourself, but in that moment feeling a connection to those on whom you are focused and to your true or higher “self,” ~ as we are all connected through our humanity ~ with kind, loving and respectful care. It’s not about judgment or even trying to better understand a situation. It’s not about finding solutions. It’s more about being in a state of compassion and authentic love (the spiritual variety as opposed to the mushy, codependent, chick flick, commercially packaged “love”), accepting the emotions and reality of another, with the intent, if one is ready, of sharing the world-weary burdens and also sharing infinite hope, but always from a place of loving-kindness.

Ultimately, holding space will begin to take on its own meaning for you. For now, we are going to focus on spending 5 perfectly imperfect minutes with loving intention to pray, meditate, send positive thoughts, energy, healing (literally or figuratively) to those who have lost their lives to suicide in the military and/or to their families. For starters, here are some suggestions:

Depending on your background and where you are currently on your life’s journey, be that a spiritual journey or not (until now), begin your 5 minutes as you would a prayer or a meditation, or simply in contemplative and sincere thought…

Minimize distractions by turning off electronics and assuming a comfortable position. Take a few deep but natural breaths and open your heart and mind to the topic at hand.

You may choose to focus on those members of our active military lost from this earth to suicide or the families left behind, or, perhaps most appropriately, both ~ as the impact of suicide is certainly a terrible and shared reality for those lost and those left behind. Focus from a place of shared emotion, rather than analytical thought, on the hope & healing process for the survivors. Say a silent or spoken prayer or send loving intent, your positive thoughts and energy that the souls lost and those left behind find peace, forgiveness, and acceptance that they can move on. Prayers and thoughts of hope, that society will come to acknowledge mental health issues as a part of overall wellness and that the stigma of mental illness and suicide become a thing of the past, would also certainly be appropriate.

A gentle reminder that the idea during these 5 minutes spent “holding space” is not to get the mind cranking on problem solving (a habit of mine, to be sure), but to be in the more spiritually-centered space of unconditional love, connectedness and caring emotion rather than a brain-storming session of how to move the topic forward (after all, you covered that in the first 5 minutes).

Thank you.

Thank you for taking ten minutes of your time to join my effort to take action and hold space for members of the active military lost to suicide and, of course, for their families. I hope you agree it was Time Well Spent…Your feedback, impressions and suggestions are always welcome.

Like my life’s journey, this effort is a work in progress that I’m diving into with an action-while-planning approach so that I can make a difference sooner rather than later. By getting started rather than trying to make it perfect, I can attend to current topics of timely concern NOW and tweak the process as I go along, based on actual experience versus some imagined version of how it might or might not proceed. (So, thanks for joining me and putting up with a messy blog created with the best intentions and a vision for a more organized space down the road.)

If you are moved to give more time…

If you want to spend more time on this important topic, of course, that’s up to you. Just be sure that you are coming from a place that nourishes your own soul and doesn’t add undue stress or pressure. My goal is to help people help others in a way that helps improve the quality of all lives involved, including yours!

That being said, certainly each topic I share will have a more significant impact on some people than on others, because of their own life’s circumstances and experiences or simply because their intuition, their higher self, their inner guide nudges them to do more. Not surprisingly, a few suggestions come to mind…

More Ways to Give Time to this Topic:

Contact your political representatives & share your concerns.

The following signed the letter: Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Barbara Boxer of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, Mark Udall of Colorado, and Ron Wyden of Oregon; and Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina.. Beyond this list, I’m not aware which legislators support a change in the current policy. Sounds like a good reason to reach out to your representatives to be sure they are representin’.

Learn More on the Topic of Mental Health and Our Military.

Here are some links to head you in the right direction, and hopefully save you some time.

Facebook Event where I learned about the topic:

CNN post specifically about the condolence letter policy:

News Video on Military Suicide Rates:

Celebrities Speak Out in Support of Military & Mental Health:

TIME article on Silent Wounds: Mental Health & the Military:

Follow the efforts of organizations working on the areas of concern.

Help to shine a light on the topic and on the work being done by following the pages listed below and by sharing their efforts from time to time. Take a moment to hold space on the topic, for example, when a post on the topic shows up in your facebook news stream. Here are just a couple of organizations. Feel free to share additional resources by commenting on this post.

MILITARY: Support the Troops Facebook Page

MENTAL HEALTH: National Alliance on Mental Illness

(While I prefer the term mental health, NAMI does very important work on removing the stigma of mental health issues.)

SUICIDE PREVENTION: American Society for Suicide Prevention

Fall DeClutter For Good Book Drive ~ A Mission Accomplished

The fall of 2010 was not without its surprises and curve balls. In addition to moving out of the pre-launch office (planned), my parents were both hospitalized in September (unplanned) back-to-back in fact. It was draining, emotionally and physically, as hospitalizations of loved ones most often are. It also served as a very concrete reminder that, for now, my time is most appropriately spent in the care of my family.

As much as I would love to run monthly DeClutter For Good drives, as I did in the spring of 2010 or throughout much of 2009, I made the difficult (yet at the same time obvious) decision to cut back on the drives. Falling back on an old favorite, the fall drive was a book drive, with a favorite main recipient organization, I’m happy to say.

DeClutter Your Books For Good delivery

Dropping off books at More Than Words, I am always struck by the truth in this social enterprise's name. These teens who have faced hardship in their still-young lives are given a second chance ~ learning how to manage their lives by learning how to manage a business. Their bookstore/coffee shop is a haven of hope for them. They have always shown me great respect & appreciation. I'm so pleased I finally got a pic!

Nearly everyone has TOO MANY books! What’s more, we kind of hate to part with them ~ even those books, the vast majority I would hazard a guess, that we never read a second time. “DeCluttering For Good” and contributing to a collective effort to help a worthy organization, people in need, is just that extra incentive we need to get some of our extra books out from under. Keeping books out of the waste stream when we purge through our books, well, that’s a no-brainer!

Through the contributions of many people, most notably a generous donation from the Hamilton-Wenham library after their used book sale, donations at Ipswich High School’s Fall Curriculum Night and Ipswich Recycling Committee’s fall recycle day, I was able to donate 1,000+ books to More Than Words, one of my favorite non-profit/social enterprise hybrids anywhere! Click here to read a post I wrote in the fall of 2008 after my first visit to MTW. I’ve done many drives for them and never tire of delivering the books to their bookstore/coffee shop in Waltham, MA. More Than Words employs at-risk teens, giving them the business skills and life skills to turn their young lives in a positive direction, while changing community attitudes about these young people who have been through tough times. Books are simply the “thing” they sell, the vehicle for their life-altering efforts. Our disadvantaged youth deserve a second chance, if anyone does, and MTW gives it to them.

In addition to More Than Words, I donated a boxful of parenting books to Lynn Community Health Center for them to share with the young parents to whom they provide services. Certainly, young parents find themselves in a situation where they need to suddenly learn a great deal about raising children, something challenging at any age. I still need to send a thank-you to the kind person who made the delivery for me from the local Beverly NorthShore Cafe (a yahoo group born out of that town’s freecycle group).

Finally,as the fall was drawing to a close, I delivered the last of the books from the fall DeClutter For Good drive. I had set aside 4 or 5 boxes of young children’s books, early readers, beginner chapter books and children’s non-fiction. Just in time for Christmas, I made the short drive to Ipswich Cornerstones, an alternative school for very young children who, in many instances, live at the school because home is not a safe place to be. That I am able to deliver an occasional box of books (or in the past bedding, games, sports equipment) is bittersweet. It’s such a small act really, but makes a difference in their already challenging young lives. Shining a light on the problems that lead to their being at a place like Cornerstones is a long-range dream. For now, the books will have to suffice, and the knowledge that I’m helping to make people aware of the needs that exist and the simple ways we can help if we collectively DeClutter For Good and donate to organizations helping those in need.

To all of those who donated books, thank you. Each of these organizations welcomes donations. Visit their websites or feel free to get in touch with me via a comment reply. In particular, More Than Words is a wonderful recipient organization for book drives on Boston’s North Shore and the Greater Boston area.

Moving Out of my “pre-launch” office ~ Many Hands would be a Big Help!

Included in this post are the explanations of WHY I’m leaving the space and WHAT opportunities that presents for folks. Right now, I could use the help of anyone interested in getting a closer look at my idea, supporting my efforts to help. 
For all the details, read on…

Time Well Spent will be at Scala Arts Center’s Art & Wellness Evening

I was thrilled to be invited by artist Lisa Scala to join her and some amazing friends this Thursday, from 6 to 9 pm at her Scala Art Center in Georgetown for an Art & Wellness Evening.  It’s another chance to meet wonderful, like-minded people and a chance for friends to give me their book donations for this month’s DeClutter For Good drive to benefit More than Words. It really sounds like a wonderful night, taking time for you and benefitting those in need in the process. In addition to the book drive, there will be a raffle with fundraising for victim’s of domestic violence.

Here are all the details:


Scala Art Center

28 West Main St. Georgetown MA 01833

Thursday September 16th 6:00 –9:00

We would like to invite you to our first Art & Wellness Evening.We are hosting this event to bring a variety of amazing artists and wellness professionals together for one special night of the art of healing.

Massage Therapist, Shiatsu Therapist, Shaman, Aesthetician, Holistic Healing Reiki, Green Products, Mary Kay Jewelers, Potter, Fiber Artists, Puppet Maker, Painters, Film Maker and so much more.

We have invited the local author Harriet B. Varney Miller the writer of “Birth of the Phoenix” to join us for a book signing of her riveting novel.

We will also be collecting donations for a National Coalition Against Domestic Violence cause in honor of her book.

Prosperity & Wellness Book Mark a Complimentary Gift for the first 20 guests. A simple thank you for your support.

Art & Wellness Basket Raffle to help Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Great ladies night out so bring your friends.

We will be serving healthy refreshments.

September DeClutter For Good Book Drive ~ BOOKS ~ Drop-Off Info & All the Details

UPDATE: In addition to the Time & Tide Art Show, donations are also being accepted at Ipswich High School Curriculum Night, 9/22. Curriculum Night begins at 7pm. We will have a table to drop books at beginning at 6:30.  Email to make alternative arrangements including plenty of time to drop off at the pre-launch office on Route 1 in Ipswich.
WHAT types of BOOKS are accepted?
 With the exception of anything moldy or really musty, ALL categories of books are accepted. Parenting and kids books I often set aside for local family service organizations and some self-help types for shared use at Time Well Spent. All books will find their way to a great new home!

DeClutter Your Books For Good! to benefit

 and other local service organizations

 Special Drop-Off Night at

 4 Market Street, Ipswich, MA

 Opening Night of their

 Masquerade & Illusion Show

 Friday Evening, September 17th

 from 7pm to 9pm

 I will be there! Will you?

If you can’t make it to the Art Show, there will be plenty of time to drop your donations by the pre-launch office. Local friends and neighbors can drop at my house (but let me know first!)

What’s it all about? New to the concept? Don’t know about More Than Word? Read on…

Continue reading

Taking Time to Show Gratitude for help with all the DeClutter For Good drives

With summer nearly over, it’s important that I take a moment to extend my belated thanks for all the community support during the spring series of DeClutter For Good donation drives. Here they are in brief, with the 3 preceding posts providing more details with all the appropriate and very sincere thanks extended.

DeClutter Sports Equipment For Good

Teaching my own son Mark about service learning was an added treat!

SPORTS EQUIPMENT DeClutter For Good Drive

 helping those in need of sports equipment

via Playing It Forward


DeClutter Beanie Babies For Good

The creative photographer at the Ipswich Chronicle made for an unexpected keepsake for the service learning teens.

BEANIE BABIES DeClutter For Good Drive

 bringing a smile to children in war-torn countries

via Operation Troop Support


DeClutter Garden Tools For Good Drive

So often I don't think to take a picture of making the deliveries ~ but it's my favorite moment, no doubt!

YARD & GARDEN TOOLS DeClutter For Good Drive 

encouraging sustainability & healthy choices

for disadvantaged families in Gloucester, Massachusetts

via Wellspring House

The drives were held as part of my pre-launch efforts at Time Well Spent, my mission-driven start-up that strives to help people help others and the environment. Overall, the spring drives were a big success and a great deal was learned along the way. Testing the concept is so important as I fine-tune my vision to help people clear the clutter that gets in the way of our ability to live our best life, keeping it out of the waste stream, and getting it into the hands of those in need through service organizations, while highlighting their good work along the way. In time, that clutter which can’t be re-used “as is” will be repurposed at Time Well Spent in the creation of new products that inspire all to consider their consumer impact when it comes to the mindful purchase of products that are both people- and earth-friendly… But, for now, DeCluttering For Good has already proven to be time well spent.

Keeping it short and sweet ~  to the degree that is possible for me ~  I’ve divided my summaries into several posts with heartfelt thanks to all involved and lots of links to click on to learn more and support others doing good work for those in need and the environment. Know that my thanks extend to each and every person who made a donation, even if it was only a single item.  Contributing to the collective effort and helping to make a difference is what’s so empowering.

Carpe Diem ~ Nancy