From Griswolds to Giving

How quickly time travels. As I look at my calendar I realize it is that time of the month year again; I am beginning to feel bloated the holiday spirit.

Our neighbors (on both sides) finished decorating the outside of their houses Thanksgiving weekend. If you are familiar with the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, then you are familiar with the Griswold family. For those of you familiar with the Griswolds, we live next door to the family – on both sides.

Truthfully, we love the neighbors’ tacky Christmas lights. However, once our Griswold neighbors decorate their houses, our boys begin to pressure me and Rob to get our house decorated. Pressure during the holidays?! Never! Read more

With All Our Heart

I received an email from a friend of mine who runs an animal rescue organization. A fundraising event is in the planning/preparation stage, and my friend asked me if I would help. The date and location are set, but items are needed for the raffle and silent auction. (All proceeds raised for the fundraiser will go to her organization, Pick of the Litter, a  non-profit a 501c3 organization.)

Instantly, I posted a shout-out to my Facebook friends, asking for donations for the raffle and auction. Happily, I received three responses. Robin H. gave me a hand-knitted baby blanket, Robin C. is looking to see about getting items from KONG (the pet toy company), and a third friend – whose name is not Robin – sent me the following note:

“Lenore – My little company, DesignsByHeart, creates and sells products to help support animal rescue, rehabilitation, and education… I have a couple of products I can donate to this auction. Can I somehow send them to you and have you get them where they need to be? Email me, and give me the scoop on this. I’d love to sync up with this organization somehow… Thanks friend!!” Read more

Washing the Egg off my Face

He did it! Our 6yr old boy completed several loops around his school’s parking lot! When asked whether or not he had fun, Joe’s face lit up with a smile, “Yes!” He said.

Though I was not able to attend the ’round and ’round, the smile on his face when he got home and the pictures taken by the Director are proof enough for me; Joe had a blast. I am a proud Mom, even if I did have to grovel and beg for money. Read more

Yes, this is egg on my face.

You might be one of them, standing by the entry way to the grocery store with your youngin’ in tow, waiting for people to walk by you, hoping to make eye contact with the individual and ask the question, “Would you like to buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies?” Or maybe, you are the one that drives your son around the neighborhood, stopping at every house and walking with him to the door, as he does his best to sell popcorn for his Cub Scout troop.

I was never going to be that parent. Nope. If my kid was asked to raise money or sell something, I told myself I would make him do the work on his own. He needed to find out – through hard work and pavement pounding – what was involved in raising money, whether the money came from selling something or taking part in a sporting event. No Siree! I was not going to do my son’s work for him. It was his job. Not mine. Read more

Double-Dog Dare

Parents did not have enough money. The budget did not have the funds to offer assistance. Kids were being turned away. Then, someone spoke up, “I will donate $100 to the cause, and I challenge each and every one of you to do the same.” Suddenly, folks pulled out their checkbooks and wrote checks. Suddenly, folks pulled out their wallets and billfolds, pulling out whatever cash they found. The line was long, and the donations were steady.

The above is a true story. And, I was one of the folks who pulled a checkbook and wrote a check. Days before the impromptu donation, I had updated our budget spreadsheet for July. We are already in the red this month, with more bills to be paid. Still, I knew we could end the month in the black by ‘sacrificing’ frivolous spending. (Like not spending $4.00 for a pint (aka ‘one serving’) of ice cream.) As I wrote the check, there was a part of my cringing because we would have ‘go without’ some perks this month.

My belief? Give to the point that it hurts. I’m not saying put a 2nd mortgage on the house, so you can increase your charitable donations. Rather, I am suggesting you cut back on the Starbucks, Ben & Jerrys, McDonalds, cute shoes, etc. You don’t have to run a marathon, participate in a triathlon, run a relay or ride a bike. Instead, provide financial support to the runners, triathletes and bike riders. Financially support the fundraisers and charitable organizations. And, support these people and organizations to the point that you feel it, financially; because, until you feel it, you may not understand the impact it makes on those who need it the most.

You have so much. So many have so little. So many go without more than you can imagine. So many battle horrible illnesses on a daily basis. Is this too depressing? Do you really not want to dwell on the crap in the world? Well, those suffering don’t want to deal with it, either. And, many of those suffering are not depressed. In fact, many of those suffering in some way, shape or form, could teach us all a thing or two on how to live and appreciate life. Give them a chance to teach you this lesson. I challenge you to give. I challenge you to give until it hurts.

Life threatening illnesses surround us: Cancer/Leukemia,  Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle-cell Anemia, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, etc.
In addition, life is a struggle for those battling Autism, Poverty, Starvation, Scleroderma, Turner’s Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Alzheimer’s, etc. The reality is that there are countless other illnesses affecting our population. And, let’s not forget the animal kingdom. Animals are in need of our help, in part  – because of our own mistakes.

I am confident you know someone battling an illness or helping a furry friend. Support your loved one. Support your friend. Support the furry companions. If nothing else, consider your financial support an investment in your future. Who knows, you may find yourself battling a life threatening or life altering illness in the future.

Below are several charities to consider supporting financially. Accessing Charity Navigator is another way to access reputable charitable organizations. I beg you to make a donation today. I dare you to make a donation today. I double-dog dare you to make a donation. Thank you.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

CURE Childhood Cancer

Pick of the Litter

Team in Training

Murphy-Harpst

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.

Angel Flight

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The Rockefeller University