inter alia: “…be willingly good, extra good…” – Richard Armitage

I was searching around for this quote today – I knew it was from one of the letters Richard Armitage has written to fans over the years, but I couldn’t remember where they were located until a little birdie (Hi birdie!) reminded me that they are at archived at This quote comes from the closing remarks of the message dated December 24, 2011, and it has always spoken to me about the generous nature that seems an integral part of Richard Armitage.  This time of year, it becomes particularly meaningful.

I’ve really wanted to be able to post more lately, but as any slave to the academic calendar will tell you, November is crunch time.  The semester is winding to a close, work to be graded is piling up, and students can taste the end on the tips of their tongues.  Professional duties are looming, but more importantly for me,  November is also the kick off to my mission work season.  For the past several years, I’ve coordinated a pizza sale with K-6th grade youth at my church.

Pizza number 176...

Pizza number 176…

We – when I say “we” I mean me, a handful of parents and about 15 kids ranging from 4-12 years old – get together to form a pizza assembly line.  This year we had a total of 200 pizzas to make.  We did it in a little under two hours and no one ended up with pizza sauce in their hair – a minor miracle considering events of past years.  The profits we make from the pizzas are donated wholly to support a local Adopt-a-Family program for the Christmas holiday.  We are assigned a family via a local agency and receive gift buying guidelines and a list of desired items provided by the family.  Sometimes the lists have been something of a challenge, but I was really struck by the list I received yesterday:
adopt a familyNothing extravagant, nothing exotic.  My own children are asking for WiiU’s and Ninendo 3DS’s for Christmas (the jury is still out on this BTW).  This parent is hoping to have diapers for an infant.  This puts cutting onions and wrangling cheese-throwing kids into perspective for me.  By spending a couple of days peddling pizzas, we can make a real difference in the life of this family.

Sometimes just a little respite from struggling can make an enormous impact.  I know, I’ve been there.  I could be there again.  Anyone could.  This is one of the reasons I continue to be enamored of Richard Armitage.  He’s not just a handsome face, or a talented actor.  He really seems to be the genuine article – a person with a kind and generous soul who seeks to give back to those in need – whether it’s through his JustGiving Charities or efforts to raise relief funds after a natural disaster

Relief efforts after Christchurch

Raising funds

Or exhorting his fans to be “…willingly good, extra good…”  I’m going to continue to work on this – doing good works doesn’t always mean huge monetary donations or grand gestures.  I really believe that sometimes we can make a difference through RAndom acts of kindness that have a potential to ripple forward.

There are opportunities all around us…don’t forget the upcoming Silent Auction at I Want to be a Pin Up, and watch this space after the new year for a chance to pool our efforts in this regard.

13 comments on “inter alia: “…be willingly good, extra good…” – Richard Armitage

  1. Servetus says:

    Reblogged this on Me + Richard Armitage and commented:

  2. guylty says:

    Another timely reminder of goodness.
    Caring for others is what being human is about. It is nice to see that reflected in those whom we admire from afar (RA) and those we are closer to (you, even though strictly speaking also quite far away from me :-D). Inspirational. And those pizzas look yummy. 200 of them? I hope you made loads of bucks!

    • obscura says:

      Thanks! It is a great privilege to me to be able to continue this tradition of giving…a group of the kids will come along to shop for the family, and it’s great…they shop, but not for themselves and they become more aware of the needs of others when they see the lists. Can’t have enough generosity and goodwill in my book :).

      The pizzas are delish! I always worry when I see the invoice and the pile of supplies, but it always works out! (That was only one of two full refrigerators, plus three cooler chests full of cheese)

      • guylty says:

        This “tradition of giving” was really big in a major big US-American internet company that I used to work in. I remember that for Christmas we had a tree in the lobby with lots of little tags tied to it decoratively. Each tag was for a child from an underprivileged background and had a Christmas pressie wish written down for them. By claiming a tag you committed to buying the pressie for them for something like $25. There was almost a race for the tags, and we managed to get presents for *all* children. When there were three left, my team clubbed together to get those “sorted”, too. It felt good – shamefully so…

        • obscura says:

          Ah yes, the “giving tree” – those are nice because they are low pressure…no hard “sell” donate tactics. I agree…it is a really good feeling!

  3. Do you know what hit me in the solar plexus? Pajamas. Everyone needed pajamas. I wanted to cry.

  4. That’s a great program! We also participate in an “adopt a child” holiday gift program each year. We receive a sheet with the child’s first name, age, sizes, needs and wishes. They tell people to spend at least $40 on a gift. But we usually exceed that amount–and have a blast shopping for a kid whom we will never meet. Our nieces and nephews just want cash for their presents–but what is the fun in that? And at our age, we don’t need presents, so we spend our holiday dollars on a kid who needs it more than we do. We have fun imagining each child’s face when they open their gifts. Gives me goosebumps.

    • obscura says:

      It really is. Part of the program is also to donate a grocery gift card to allow for a special holiday meal that might not otherwise be in the budget for these families. My family’s holiday traditions revolve around food nostalgia, so I can’t imagine having to choose between a holiday meal or diapers for my baby.

      I just feel really blessed that I can help in any small way. Since we raise several hundred dollars, we’re also able to sponsor slightly larger families that are sometimes harder to place, so it works out well.

      Now I’m watching for sales on pajamas so I can get those and maximize the amount left over for the fun stuff 🙂

      • Good for you! Our church also assembles lists of families–not necessarily of our parish–who would like to receive a Thanksgiving basket of food (turkey & fixings). Then everyone donates to make it happen.
        The holidays in November and December are a wonderful time of year for giving by everyone. And hopefully that extends to the other 10 months of the year. I’m always amazed at how community organizations make sure that people don’t go hungry and kids have gifts–like the Brotherhood Tree our local radio station accepts donations for and gives out thousands of gifts each year.
        So good luck with your pajama sales hunt! You’re an angel to someone. Cheers!

  5. […] that no matter how small, everyone can make a difference.  I’ve already mentioned our annual holiday family adoption .  I received the most beautiful, heartfelt, handwritten letter from the mother of that family […]

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