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Bloganuary #16: Passionate Crusading

What a thought-provoking prompt. I have to start off saying something that is hard to admit. Were it not for this challenge, we wouldn’t be talking about it on my blog. Because in my humble opinion, I’ve never been very passionate about causes, as recognized by demonstrations, riots, and marches.

I wanted to be heroic even as a child, without enduring or even understanding the sacrificial part. LOL A few years ago I met a woman who had marched with Martin Luther King at age 10. In spite of my own lack of passion, I was in awe of her and how she followed her heart at such a young age.

As an adult, I randomly give to support causes such as homelessness, animal shelters, and scholarships. I tithe and give offerings to the church to support the projects they define as important, but I’m not a philanthropist. I am also skeptical about how the money gets used. I hate the constant phone calls to contribute to some cause or another, so I am jaded to some extent.

I’ve never been in a tornado, hurricane, flood, earthquake, or bombing where everyone was in the same fix and anyone who could, helped. I am glad that our church does send a portion of our contributions to help people in need all around the world. We have made random donations to help in crises. I don’t have any super skills that I would consider helpful in time of a crisis, unless panicking helps.

When featured on the news, I admire and am astounded when little kids see a need and sell lemonade or build a cardboard theme part to raise money to give to those in need – families torn by tragedy, kids in the hospital and other things that touch their hearts. They touch my heart and make me feel guilty for not being more passionate.

Teen Passions – No External Causes

I think it takes a while for passions to develop as you notice more inequities and tragedies in the world around you and as things happen to you. People in long-term survival mode don’t usually have energy for causes. At least I didn’t.

During my teens, my immediate family was simply trying to survive my parent’s divorce financially and get established in a city, school, and job 2,500 miles away from family, friends and any professional network my mother might have had.

The Viet Nam War was in full swing when I was in high school and college. I accidentally got caught up in a protest march when walking in downtown Portland to or from classes at Portland State University.

My brother was too young to go, my father too old and disallowed from even fighting in WWII, and my grandfathers were way too old. So, I had no personal ties to the war. At that time women didn’t go into combat military service.

My political/geographic brain didn’t compute how the United States was going to be taken over by Communism if Viet Nam fell under Communist rule. The Domino Theory seemed like gibberish to me, so I tuned it out. In my heart, I didn’t approve of young boys/men being forced to go into military service, but my sense of empathy and eminence of impending disaster was not strong enough to make me passionate. My brother came of age after military service was no longer mandated. Maybe my accidental march made a difference?

I also got caught up in a housing shortage crisis while keeping my boyfriend company while he stood in long line at Portland State to try to get student housing. We must have looked approachable. A reporter filmed us and maybe talked to us – I don’t remember too much, but I ended up on the 6:00 o’clock news, and my mother freaked out. I was still only 17 or barely 18 and my dad paid child support for me as long as I lived with her. We were super poor compared to how our lives were before the divorce. She was passionate that I didn’t get married or move in with HIM, which was kind of a new thing back then. I guess he got student housing. Maybe standing in line with him made a difference. We broke up so I don’t know.

the love of my 15-year-old heart, the outfit I made of remnants Mom brought home from work at Fabric House

My teen passions consisted of:

  • Boys, of course
  • Roller and Ice Skating
  • Water Skiing
  • Sewing
  • Knitting
  • Needlepoint
  • Taking care of mom/house, brother and myself while Mom worked.

Married Years – 1st 20 Years

I was already in survival mode from my teen years. It was the mid-seventies and eighties. Recession was in full swing. I dropped out of college because working was more important at the time and financial aid evaporated after my first year.

My husband had Gaucher’s disease which is a nasty genetic disease if you want to look it up. Most doctors hadn’t heard of it. He lost his job after we had been married less than a month. I lost mine right after we got back from our honeymoon. My boss apparently thought I had chosen the wrong man to marry. I should have been passionate about sexual harassment in the workplace, but I didn’t take his flirtations seriously. However, I wasn’t passionate about my work, I didn’t want my job back, and I certainly didn’t want to work for Bill. I got another job right away, so I didn’t feel overly damaged by the experience.

my husband, Mark, my brother Randy, me, and mom in front circa 1975-1980

One month into his new job, my husband broke his hip. We had been married three months by this time and I was 23 and panicked. I should have been more passionate about getting a teaching degree. After a hip replacement, he eventually got a job selling fabric all over Oregon and we moved away from MY scrawny network of family and friends. That lasted about a year, then he lost his job and needed another hip replacement. He was 29 by this time and couldn’t work. The dentist I worked for part-time retired, and I suddenly needed a new job in a tiny town. That worked out poorly, and I began selling magazines door to door. You can imagine how well that worked out.

Eventually my husband studied for the ministry, and I studied to become a teacher.

circa 1988 teaching grade 5

My passions during my first marriage.

  • Passion for the cause of Christianity through involvement and giving in church
  • Passion for education through teaching
  • Introduction to the cause of women’s rights from a woman minister in the world of male ministers
  • Nurturing a passion for women’s equal employment rights and safety which I pursued through involvement as the secretary of the local teachers’ union.

Married Next 26 Years

By the 1990s, I had earned my degree and CA teaching credential and was established (without tenure yet) in a teaching position. Mark had passed away, and I had remarried. Vince had been swindled in a business dealing before I met him, lost everything. He’d had some terrible times, so we commiserated together and went forth to solve our problems together.

A math class I in which I coached the teacher. Photo has a filter.

We worked hard and built a life. He had a son and we helped him out quite a bit as he got started in life. I earned my master’s degree and administrative credential and began working for the County Office of Education. People told me that County Office employees did nothing, but I know from experience that we did “nothing” for about 60 hours + a week. We trained teachers to be more effective at their craft. We ran student events for the entire county, and we participated in networks of colleagues throughout the state to do the work of education in the state of California.

My primary working year passions for causes were:

  • Passion about education for all which I pursued through my work.
  • Passion about teaching critical thinking through social studies not just language and math which I pursued through work and social studies teacher organizations
  • Continued passion for living the Christian life and finding ministry without ministry along with continued tithing.


Most teachers and administrators lose resilience and relevancy after a while. Or at least I felt that I was nearing that point and needed a change. I did not want to be the one that everyone took bets on when she was going to retire and hoped she would hurry up about it. I believe there is a time to retire and start something new. I adopted what I called it the George Washington philosophy. He served two terms and then stepped aside when people still wanted him to be President/King. I was not the queen of history consultants. I retired.

Sunday Stills Volunteering Kiwanis Food Pantry
Woodlake Food Pantry

My passions for causes during my retirement years were:

  • Passion for education and community exhibited through Kiwanis of Woodlake
  • Passion for community and business exhibited through the Woodlake Chamber of Commerce
  • Passion for history exhibited through the Woodlake Museum and writing the book Images of America: Woodlake
  • Passion for nature and the environment through volunteering at the Woodlake Rose Garden and driving a hybrid car.
  • Supporting local charities through our church and other random gifts

Another Big Move

We retired again and moved to Prescott in November 2020. My husband and I began establishing connections in the community through our neighborhood. We have not made any solid connections through church, and of course, we moved smack dab in the middle of COVID when socialization via gatherings screeched to a stop.

We started playing pickleball and made some great friends. Both of us have suffered injuries that have curtailed that activity as have some of our friends. Frankly, pickleball can’t be stretched to be classified as a cause. My passion for that sport has waned to a point of being non-existent.

Supporting the Cause of Blogging Challenges

With few geographic friends, I turned even more to my friends online. I never considered this a cause, but maybe it should be. That being said. The people who I know that blog have maintained their sanity during the worst crisis of the 21st century. They have built communities. They have flourished. I have been privileged to be a tiny part of that movement.

  • Passion for blogging – photo and writing challenges in particular
  • Passion for communicating and maintaining sanity and good mental health through blogging
  • Passion for living my faith in Christ without being obnoxious or sanctimonious about it and continuing to give support to the local community and needs around the church.
  • Passion for opportunities and freedom from harassment for women but I’m not doing anything right now to help
  • Passion for the environment by driving electric hybrid car, recycling, drinking almond milk, picking up trash, and recycling. (I know, big deal) ๐Ÿ™‚

That all doesn’t sound like much compared to those who have sacrificed their life and limbs through military service or have gone overseas to provide medical service to communities which have none. I’m not like one friend who might be sewing for a play her grandson is in or buying gas at one station rather than another because of their stand on political issues that matter to her.

Listing out the causes that have mattered to me over the years took a lot of time and thought and pleasantly surprised me that maybe my life has contributed to others in small ways at least. Some of you might have laughed at some of my puny contributions to society but it’s my personal best for today and……that’s all folks.

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#Bloganuary #blogprompt



56 replies »

  1. Hi Marsha!
    As I was reading about your life and what all you have gone through, the common “sky’s the limit” kept circling in my mind.
    As you’ve talked about your strength and passion, I’m absolutely sure that they had certainly benefitted countless individuals, which is a marvelous achievement for a person living in one corner of the world.
    Thank you so very much for sharing your story with my challenge :

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, for reading, Hammad. By this age, we have all had our share of challenges. Everyone is different, and everyone is worth celebrating because we have overcome and continue to live and contribute to the world. Thanks for all you do, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really admire your passion for community engagement and supporting organizations, Marsha. That is wonderful. I know giving and supporting have enriched your life. That’s a model for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed reading your comments about those things you were passionate about over the years. Some of them hit a chord with me as well.
    I thought I enjoy writing, but clearly, you have a passion for blogging the written word to share your thoughts with others. Thanks for a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, John. Blogging is my sport because it is so versatile. We carry our phones and cameras everywhere, and when something happens – there we are OJT reporters. In a way linking to each other’s challenges become the many corners on which we distribute our news. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It was so much fun to hear about your passions in different phases of your life Marsha and how you continue to thrive and build community and bring people together wherever you go! You have so much energy and did a great job with this post. Love you and your mom’s matching dresses, no doubt hand sewed. Congrats on 1,500 followers!~ ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You wrote a wonderful post. As the Eternal Traveler said “most caring and compassionate people”. That statement hit me. I’ve know you awhile now, and you are so caring and compassionate. It is so easy to overlook that as a passion. But it is one you spread to everyone you know. And as the people you know feel better, they in turn help to make other people feel better and you are the center of a rippling ring of happiness. What a great gift to give other through your passion for life and compassion. ๐Ÿ˜€ โค โค

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hello Marsha. I found your blog through a comment you left on Deb’s World. It’s nice to “meet” you. I picked a good post to jump in on, since you shared some of your history. It was a nice opportunity to get to know you. When I think about my own life and the causes I am passionate about, I feel much the same as you do. At first glance, it doesn’t seem that I have developed a passion for any cause. I do contribute to a couple of favorite vetted charities every year and to causes that come up close to home. I adopted a dog from a shelter. I donate blood regularly, and I have volunteered from time to time. But there is no big cause that I have sacrificed for. Still, hearing your list of contributions, you have definitely made a difference in the world. I take comfort in thinking that I have too, in some small way. Thank you for the thoughtful post. Have a lovely day!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Christie, what a sweet response. It was a post I almost did not write. After I wrote it, I thought ooops, way TMI. But I left it up, and I’ve had some wonderful comments like yours. The challenge made me rethink what a cause is. and what a perfect day for us to think about causes – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for us here in the US. Like you said, there are other causes. I didn’t even think about the animals I’ve adopted over the years. Thank you for the thoughtful reply and let’s keep on making a small difference in the world. Hope to see you again. Marsha.


  7. I found it so interesting to read the story of your life and how the challenges you’ve faced have shaped you and influenced your passions. What struck me is that your passions have changed as your life has changed, and I think that’s true for all of us. But there’s an underlying thread of support for your family and for a range of causes, without the latter taking over your life – again, like most of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Sarah. Wasn’t that an interesting topic? I would never have thought of it on my own because I’m not a causes person. Ju-Lyn mentioned being aggressive when talking about crusading and passions. That is what happens to me when I get too involved in a cause. You embrace one set of people and turn off another set. I don’t enjoy doing that. Not only that, causes do change. Some urgencies fade from being priority. The exercise made me think. Thanks for reading my epic post! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi – I took the time to read this because I sensed a little time went into writing it – ๐Ÿ™‚
    thanks for sharing a brief synopsis of your life and passions – I enjoyed reading it so much

    and nice ti hear more about your faith and how you go about it – whew – I know I have evolved over the decades – (like the worse time was a short season I had in 1992 when I felt obligated to evangelize every chance I could – blah! thankfully that was short and the obligatory mode changed to sharing more through actions – and of course if people ask.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for spending the time to read this, Yvette. Yes, I took most of the day to write the post. I also used to think that my life had to be exemplary as well. I was trying to prove a point to my Dad, That missed the point, too. I’m sure I still don’t have it right, but I don’t think it’s up to me. I’m going to fall short no matter what. My brother told me once that he blamed the church for keeping me away from him. I was shocked. I told him that he should blame me because I made the choice to be involved in the church. I don’t know that I got through to him, but we are friends now, and I think appreciate our differences and each other’s strengths.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love reading about what you are passionate about Marsha! You are a community builder, and give so much to us all.

    I hear you, though – I am not a “great cause” type of person either – I was once, as a teen – and decided it wasn’t a good fit because I just didn’t like the aggressive, pushy me that emerged. I think like I see through your life summary, it is about growing comfortable about oneself and making the world better in the way we can.

    P/S How is your recovery coming along?

    Liked by 3 people

    • First off, thank you so much for your gracious comment. Yes, if you are a cause person, you have to be a little pushy to get people to follow you, or some people just know how to do it without being pushy. I don’t.

      My healing is coming along, I think. I will find out this week if my lungs are better. I tested my oxygen levels tonight because I just bought a tester for my husband whose turn it is to be sick. On Jan. 28th I will find out if my leg is well enough to remove the clot filter that hangs around in my tummy protecting my heart and brain from damaging clots. No clots = no filter. That would be celebratory! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Have a great week, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for sharing Marsha. We all do what we can and when we can. Itโ€™s not one person that makes a difference but efforts of a lot of individuals. Your contributions to our blogging community are remarkable.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We all contribute to this earth in our own unique way and itโ€™s clear that youโ€™ve well and truly forged your own path and made a difference to many lives. Thanks for sharing your journey Marsha. Sending you love and warmest wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thank you for sharing your life history here Marsha. My passion, after horses of course is Human Rights. In the early 1980s I was in Chile . Argentina and Peru and interviewed people who were human rights activists and people who had been “disappeared” and tortured. When I got home I joined Amnesty Internationals Urgent Action Network which sends out appeals when people who have been imprisoned for their religion, race or political affiliations but are all without an violent crimes in their history, are threatened with extrajudicial execution. We answer the appeals by writing , faxing or emailing to government officials asking for the prisoner to have access to a lawyer , a fair trial and their family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Anne, that is quite amazing story. Are you still doing that? Do you know if any of your letters were successful. What happened after the person was freed? Oh my gosh, what a great story.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Amnesty sends out news f the person is released. They also have a bi annual magazine that follows up on the people after they are released. Obviously they have to go to a different country and start a new life. But often it works out well.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Anne, I’m passionate about people who shouldn’t be in prison being in prison. My fantasy is to work for a lawyer who is getting them freed. What you are doing sounds similar. I’d like to know more about this.

      Oops. Looks like this only goes to Marsha. I should sit down and carefully think of my passions. You have inspired me. Amazing blog.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you, dear Monica. This sounds like a movie I just watched. Maybe you saw it. The man was part of an organization that fought against the death penalty, then he was set up and sentenced to death. It was like watching an onion being peeled. I won’t’ tell you more, you might still watch it.

        Liked by 1 person




Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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