Friday, November 30, 2012

Abnormal Giving

It is November 30th. Twenty-four days until Christmas.
Gift giving is just around the corner.
Inhale aaaaaannnnnddd release.

As I get older and I do every December, I realize how much materialism we tend to get sucked into.

Sure, I love a good gift as much as anyone. But, what I love more is a gift that gives. There are retailers who give a portion of what you paid for an item to a cause and/or charity. And, non-profits, some of whom may not be 'famous' as others doing their best to be the body of Christ all year long. What would be better than giving that hard-to-buy-for person in your life a nice card noting a donation was given in his/her honor.

Here are just a few:

Spoil the Kids Our Dancer Daughter is involved right now with this amazing program. Very soon she'll head overseas and bless children who are orphans. For those who have so little, one day of being spoiled means the world to them.

MCC (Mennonite Central Committee), a worldwide ministry of Anabaptist churches, shares God's love and compassion for all in the name of Christ by responding to basic human needs and working for peace and justice. There are many ways to give through providing items for kits such as
AIDS caregiver kits, Hygiene kits, Infant care kits, Relief kits, School kits, Sewing kits, Comforters and blankets, Soap, fabric, towels

Kits are something fun & easy to do as a group. Church, family, work, scouts, you name it. Or there is a way to give financially-click on the word MCC above to give financially.

TOMS For every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS gives a pair of shoes to a child in need. "One for One" is their motto. Three of us in our family have a pair of TOMS. They are comfortable, stylish and you just feel good knowing your purchase is helping someone else.

Mudlove This is a little not-well-known company making a huge difference. Every $5 spent gives and African clean drinking water for one year. (see FAQ on their website for how only $5 does that!) They sell clay jewelry-bands, necklaces, magnets-and help others with fundraisers. And, if your item breaks, they will replace it. No questions asked. Details on on their site. It truly is a company who gives back. P.S. Everyone I've given a band truly loves it!

Pure Charity When you shop online...and admit it, you are doing more and more of that...a percentage of your purchase from participating retailers go to the charity of your choosing (as long as it is on their list of charities). You'll need to sign up on the Pure Charity webite, find a charity, give some other information and start shopping. For a much better explaination, click here.

There are many more to add to this list. Do you own little bit of research to find even more companies who give back. Better yet, leave a comment and share other companies/charities with us.

December 1st addition:
Twenties for Toby This morning I received a facebook invitation to this event. I do not know this family...only know friends of friends. While I was reading through the information it struck me how it went along so well with the theme of the video I posted below just yesterday.

Information on how you can help the Shaw family bring little Toby home: Donate Now, how Twenties for Toby got started, The Shaw's, and information taken from their blog and facebook invitation below...

“Toby is a 2 year old orphan in Guangdong, China. He was abandoned as a day old newborn because of his obvious special needs. Yes, boys are quite precious in China as the one child policy is still in place. Families want a son to carry on their family and to care for them in their old age. However this little boy was born with serious problems and his precious parents made a heart-wrenching decision. They left their tiny son for someone else to find.
Toby was taken at 1 day old to an orphanage to be raised. He has spent his entire life in that institution. He waited on a national orphan list for adoption for months and months. People advocated for his adoption and no  one chose him...then we saw him. God sealed this boy to our hearts and we knew we needed to bring him home.
Toby has AMC--arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. This means that his joints and muscles have been contracted and frozen before his birth. He is unable to bend his elbows (they are fixed straight) and his wrists are severely bent backwards and is unable to use his hands in the proper way. This is a permanent condition that does not progress. It was present at birth but CAN be helped with multiple surgeries. He is also missing toes. He is an overcomer though and has learned to walk! We cannot wait to bring him home and begin the therapy and medical intervention he needs.”

Watch the video below. Be prepared to move. We are all called to move in either prayer support, financial support or called to be the one to physically move for a season of life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

When the Angels Sing "Ode to Carbs"

"Thanksgiving is a holiday of sides and more sides. If there is no turkey, I can live with that."

I do not know who said that brilliant quote but I think I love him or her. Turkey is just a fixture. Give me dressing/stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and dad's peanut butter pie...slurp! {cue angel music}

Although, I will say I did have a love-hate relationship with turkey this year. This was the very first year I roasted a turkey...ever. She turned out beautiful, moist and flavorful. I'm proud of myself as evident of me telling a male co-worker today how great my first turkey tasted. I think his eyes may have glazed over in the middle of my brining debacle though. He obviously does not realize the importance of this major feat in my life.

What did I do to deserve such a great first-time turkey? I think I read every recipe listed online. I may or may not have watched multiple videos on brining and roasting. Or it may be from the oven bag I used when the brine started to leak out of the bag and I gave up on the brine after 10 hours. I did a little of everything everyone suggested and it was delicious!

Where is the lovely picture to prove the beautiful-ness of the bird? Three states away in my daughter's camera. I forgot to ask her for the picture. Of course in the excitement carb-drunkenness of the day I forgot to have her take a picture of the turkey before we carved it. I may or may not be still a little carb-drunk still...there are leftovers, you know.

The "hate" part was handling the naked bird...ewww...hunting for the giblets was I to know there are two ends to look in for that bag?! It required a flashlight and lifting up a flap of skin to find that durn thing...ick! May I just say those manufacturers need to have directions on how to find that dumb bag of guts.

We had a lovely day. At noon we had my dad over for our Thanksgiving meal of carbs. After everyone was stuffed like a fat teddy bear, we watched Singing in the Rain. People, it's a comedy. Seriously, who knew?!

I found the DVD of Singing in the Rain at a box store for a decent prices. Since my Dancer Daughter was coming home for the holiday, I decided to treat her to this movie. I assume everyone has heard of Singing in the Rain but how many have watched it? All six of us sat in the living room laughing, smiling and a few of us were directing the music as well. It was great. Have I convinced you to find it and watch it yet?

After the movie, we went to hubs side of the family. They had eaten roughly the same time we did. There was much football watching in one room and talking in the other going on. Plus a few of us drooling over looking at Thirty One products and catalogs. Hubs got a little concerned until he found out I was "Christmas" shopping. [wink, wink]

Today. Well, today I realized maybe wearing my special stretchy pants most of the weekend was probably not the most well-thought-out plan. I think the dryer shrunk my jeans! That is my story and I'm stickin' with it.

I hope your holiday was excellent and many memories were made. Until next time!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Can it be?

Can it really be November 18? Really? And, can my last post be dated October 31? Can it?
Sadly, it is true. Time flies as we get old are busy.

What have I been doing the last few weeks? I'll say what I told my son as I was starring at the calendar as he happened by. "There's way too much written on this calendar!" To which he agreed.

How does that happen? I always think of a sermon years and years ago from a beloved pastor. We need margin. We need white space. We need to be able to say yes to the Lord and not have busyness hamper what God is really calling us to do.

[names have been blurred]
As I look at the calendar squares [yes, I have a real paper calendar on my fridge...non-electronic], I realize most of my busyness involves other people. Lunch or coffee with friends. Those times are filled with laughter but also filled with prayer requests and just crying on each another's shoulder. Doctor appointments fill other squares on my calendar. Not appointments for me, but appointments for loved ones.

As I look at my calendar and wonder where the time has gone, I wonder the reasons those squares are inked in. The white space is filled with names and times. A few margins filled with notes. And, I discover I really am saying yes to God because He has allowed me to minister to those in need. Can busyness be from God? In these situations, I have to believe He is saying 'yes'.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take some time to hang out with my family and rest. Have a wonderful Sunday.

And, if I don't post again until after Thanksgiving, Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful day! And, in the busyness of that day, don't forget to thank God for the blessings--no matter how big or small.