An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scofted. "You're not saving enough to make a difference." The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Where one journey ends...another begins.

I can't believe it has been May since I posted. May 14th to be exact  which was my 500th day of giving.  I could not predict that just 22 days later my giving journey would end.  I shouldn't say end, just the consecutive days of giving, the tracking and the focus of giving a daily gift came to an abrupt halt.

I was in Washington DC on business, okay Herndon, VA which is just outside of DC be many don't know where Herndon is so DC is easier.  I didn't know where Herndon was until I had to start traveling there for work...sorry I digress. On Monday June 4th, with travel, I had put in a 21 hour day.  I got several hours of sleep that night and on June 5th and 6th I would put in 18+ hours days.  On June 6th I was sitting in the lobby of the hotel, with my laptop, working with my boss when it hit me that I hadn't given a gift for the day.  I was panicked. I looked down at the clock on my computer and  it said 12:18. I yelled...NOOOOOOOO.  My boss looked at me and I stated, "I didn't give my gift today!"  My consecutive gift giving journey had ended. 

Gift giving had been such a big part of my life for over a year that I wondered how could I go an entire day and not remember.  I was exhausted, had been in the office all day, took a break for dinner and continued to work through the evening.  Still no excuse.  I had always thought of the gift and found a way to give.

I had a flurry of emotion.  My first was disappointment.  I couldn't believe that after 522 days it ended by me forgetting and not making a choice to end.  Then, and I hate to admit it, but I was a bit relieved.  Don't misinterpret this emotion because I loved everyday of this journey.  I met so many great people, wonderful organizations, and most importantly I hope I made a difference and inspired others to do so.  But I was relieved because along with this journey came great pressure.  The pressure of getting to 11:50 p.m. and I hadn't given the gift.  The pressure of "what if I forgot to give for a day, or record the gift.  The tracking, which doesn't seem like a big deal was sometimes consuming. 

After I have had time to reflect on then ending of this particular journey, I know it happened at the perfect time.  That day was the day that my journey needed to end and a new one would begin.    I have enjoyed my summer and it has been filled with spending tons of time with friends and family, having fun and enjoying life.

Even though my consecutive gift giving tracking and journey has ended I can honestly say I have probably given gifts 90-95% of days since.  It has become a part of me, of who I am and wanting to make a difference didn't  leave my heart the day this particular journey ended.

If you have been following this blog you know I didn't post about every gift.  It is my goal to go back to some of my favorite gifts and blog about those days.  How they impacted me and made a difference in my life and hopefully the life of others.

I am not sure what my new journey will be or where it will lead me but I can guarantee you this...I will still be 1 Making a Difference.


Monday, May 14, 2012

And the winners are...

So today was my 500th consecutive day of giving.  This journey that started as a year of giving has turned into and been so much more.  It has changed my life in many ways and all for the good.   I wish I could give up sweets or workout for 500 consecutive days but it isn’t likely anytime in the near future.
My gift today was decided on the following post on Facebook, “Today I celebrate my 500th consecutive day of giving. To celebrate this day I will be making five (5) $100 donations to nonprofits in the US. I want YOUR help in giving this gift. If you have an organization that is doing great things post it on my timeline with why this organization is important to you and a link to their website. I will pick five (5) nonprofits and make my donation this evening for my 500th gift. Start posting!!!
I received many great recommendations and learned about many wonderful organizations. Here are the organizations that friends posted about:
·        AYOU which takes students on trips to Yellowstone National Park.
·        Hearts in Motion which addresses quality of life issues in Central America, particularly in Guatemala and Honduras.
·        Westchester Fraternal Order of Police-Shop with a Cop program at Christmas
·        TriState Multiples which helps families with high order multiples with financial requests.
·        Indiana State Police K-9 fund for my husband’s police dog Boss.
·        American Cancer Society-Relay for Life
·        The Fistula Foundation which raises awareness of and funding fistula treatment, prevention and educational programs worldwide.
·        Mulunda Miaka Orphanage which helps orphans in Zambia.
·        Baby Will which raises money and awareness for SIDS research.
·         Children’s World Impact that works to break the cycle on poverty in Ghana and Haiti.
·         National Eczema Association which provides resources for families with eczema and money for research.
·         Cheryl Lyn Welter Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of our daughter Cheryl who was killed in a car accident her Senior Year on 10/12/2000.
·         The Wounded Warrior Project raises awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members, helps injured service members aid and assist each other and provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
·         The National MPS Society supports research in MPS, families with children with MPS and increase public and professional awareness of this disease.
·         Living Hope Community Church which gives people a safe place to explore Christian faith.
·         Housing Opportunities which provides housing related help for those in NW Indiana.
·         NAMI Porter County which provides education, advocacy, and support for parents, caregivers and individuals with mental illness.
·         WVLP-98.3 is a community radio station providing a voice to those in Valparaiso, IN.
·         Valparaiso Nazarene Church that makes a variety of impacts in the community from a food pantry to youth services.
·         Royal Family Kids Camp is a summer camp that provides a week of camp at no cost to children that have been abused and neglected and placed in foster care.
·         The Hope House which provides safe houses for victims of domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States.
It was really hard to pick just five organizations.  So today I will make donations to five, but I will commit to making a donation to all organizations listed above in the next year. 
And the winners are…
·        Hearts in Motion
·        The Fistula Foundation
·        The Wounded Warrior Project
·        The Hope House
·        Baby Will Organization
I hope you have you learned about several new organizations and maybe even decided to make a donation of your own.
Thank you to those that took the time to post about their organization. You made a difference in 21 organizations today that will have a rippling effect of many children, families and individuals around the world.  1 person can make a difference!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Joy

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays or maybe my memories of Easter how I remember it as a child is that which is my favorite.  As early as I can remember my sister and I looked forward to Easter baskets filled with goodies and surprises.  We also looked forward to the sunrise service at Tanglewood Baptist Church with a yummy breakfast to follow.  I grew up attending a small Baptist church in the country where everyone knew and loved each other… truly one big family.  My sister and I always loved getting our Easter dresses, hats and sometimes even a little purse to match.

I am aware that the Easter baskets we received were a treat but not the reason we celebrate this season.  I have a friend that does Spring baskets so the focus of Easter is Christ.  I think this is a great idea and maybe you want to institute this idea next year.
My gift for today was Easter baskets to children at the Caring Place, the local domestic violence shelter.  I filled the baskets with things I loved as a child.  Peeps, a chocolate bunny, stuffed animals, bubbles, play-doh, jump ropes, bubble bath and other little treasures. 

My hope with this gift today is that it will bring these children a little joy in a scary and unfamiliar situation.  I hope I have been able to provide these children a morning like I had growing up, excited to see what the Easter bunny had brought.  Finally, I hope the mothers of these children feel loved and that someone cares and is here supporting them during this time in their life.
If you have a domestic violence or homeless shelter in your community, it isn’t too late to call and see if the children will have Easter baskets on Easter morning.  If not, get some friends together and give joy to these children.

Mathew 28:6

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cooking with Mr. Wright

If you have been following my blog you know that I don’t cook that often.  It is on rare occasion I have the desire to cook and when I do you will notice it is a gift to my husband.  I am lucky, that because he works afternoons, cooking meals usually are not a problem. When he isn’t home I tend to be a grazer and don’t prepare meals for one. On the two nights he is home he cooks, we cook together or we go out. So it leaves the seldom occasion when I actually cook… hence the reason I consider it a gift.

The odd thing about cooking for me is that I often screw it up or meals don’t turn out quite so good or taste like they should.  On the other hand I can bake.  I don’t know why I seem to be able to bake and not cook.  I chalk it up to the fact I could eat cookies, cakes, cupcakes and pie for every meal and be completely satisfied.  I would also lose my ability to sit comfortably in an airplane seat.
This year when I was making my annual goals I really tried to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone and do things I don’t like to do or things I am not good at.  One of the goals I made was to take a cooking class.  I was excited when Groupon had a deal for a cooking class in Chicago at Ren.  I purchased the deal in hopes Mike would go with me.  Fat chance!  I finally roped one of my friends to take off work early and drive into Chicago with me.  (My gift was to her. I paid for her cooking class and gave her a Word of the Day calendar for her desk.  A goal of hers was to learn a new word every day.)  I must admit, I was a bit nervous because reviews on YELP were not very glowing.  If I would have been signed up by myself I would have bailed.

Sometimes it is doing what we don’t want to do or the unknown that we miss great opportunities.
When we arrived we were greeted by Chef MarkWright.  He looked more like football player than a chef but who am I to judge.  Let’s just say over the next three hours he made the time fly and we had a blast.  After several hours of cooking with other couples we were ready for a delicious meal.  While we were eating my friend and I chatted with Chef Wright about his career and his love for cooking.  He made everything look so simple and I know it comes from years of practice.  The night ended with a TO-DIE-FOR dessert. 
On the way home my friend and I laughed about the time we had and discussed all we had learned.  I can’t wait to try out several of the recipes from cooking class and check out and cook other recipes Chef Wright post on his website at

If you are in Chicago or Northwest Indiana I highly recommend cooking classes from Ren and make sure Chef Wright is cooking! Bon Appétit!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Attention Travelers: Stop and Look Around You

As an avid traveler I have found that if I stop and look around there are always opportunities to give and help others.  From my observation, airports tend to be a confusing place that makes people nervous. All people want is for someone to help them but they don’t want to ask for the help.
I take the Coach USA bus from Northwest Indiana to Chicago Midway airport.  During this trip I have to transfer from one bus that continues to O’Hare and get on my bus that goes to Midway.  While I was transferring buses today I noticed a young lady that had a baby strapped to the front of her, a large purse, baby bag, duffle bag and two rolling suitcases.  People with their heads down grabbed their bags and continued to move on to their bus.  I stopped and asked her if she needed help and she said yes.  I strolled and loaded her bags on the bus.
When we got to the airport I asked her again if she could use some help.  I brought her bags into the airport and I could tell she hadn’t traveled much so I decided to stay with her until she felt comfortable and got to where she was going.  I helped her at check-in and gave her directions on how to get to security and get to her gate.  In giving her directions I could tell she was still not confident she could make it to her gate.
I told her to wait at the top of the escalators while I took my bag to check-in.  As I was walking away she asked a very direct question, with a nervous giggle… “Are you a human trafficker?”
At first I was taken aback by her question but then I stopped to look at the situation.  A total stranger, following and helping another total stranger through the airport.  I know she had to be thinking, “Why is she doing this? What is in it for her?”
She said, I only ask because I was watching this show last night on human trafficking and it has me paranoid.  I can’t believe this stuff happens in the United States.  I laughed and said I am not a human trafficker. You can trust me. I told her I was a former police officer and that I was married to and Indiana State Trooper.  Yes, there are some corrupt cops out there but 98% are out there doing good things, so I hope this would ease her suspicions and it did.
I dropped off my bag and came back to her and navigated her down the escalator to security where I helped her with her bags.  It is funny how the mind works because here she was hoping I wasn’t a human trafficker and as I was carrying her bags and helping her through security, I was praying there were no drugs or illegal items in her bags.  That is all I would need.  Trying to prove to the cops I was just taking time to help someone through the airport and that a bag I had in my possession was not my bag. I am sure the cops would believe that story because that is what everyone who is smuggling drugs say…. “It’s not my bag!”
We made it through security and I looked at my watch and still had an hour to get to my gate.  I decided I would continue to help her with her bags and walk her down to her gate, B18.  We made it to the gate and because she was flying standby I took her to the Southwest desk to see if she was going to make the flight.  Unfortunately her flight was overbooked and she would be bumped to another flight.
 The customer service representative asked the young lady, “Who is this?”  The young lady without missing a beat said, “This is my guardian angel and I love her!”
We had been together less than an hour and we had made a connection, a bond.  I walked her to her seat, got her situated and gave her a big hug and wished her luck on her travels. 
Next time you are in the airport, stop and look around for someone needing help.  Help someone with their bags, let someone in front of you who seems to be running late or give someone directions that seem lost.  These random acts of kindness cost you nothing but may be priceless to the person you are reaching out and lending a helping hand.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One of my favorite quotes...

It is words of others that have gotten me through tough times in life. It is the words of others that has inspired me to work hard, to never quit and to make this world a better place.  I am blessed to have been raised by people who were and still our constant encouragers through their words, cards and now texts!

Words are very powerful. They can save a life but they can also be the thing that prevents people from succeeding and being who they were meant to be.  Words can build people up and tear them down.

I have one whole wall in my office that is dedicated to positive words, quotes, poems, stories and life lists.  One of my favorites came from a friend and I felt compelled to share it with you all this evening.

"Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.  Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.  Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.  Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.  Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!" ~Christian D. Larson

I challenge you to be encouraging in your words.  Be kind to others and build people up by motivating them to be the best they can be. 

"You always make a difference.  Its' your choice as to whether the difference will be positive or negative, active or passive, helping or hindering." ~Harold R. McAlindon

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Start your giving adventure today!

I can’t believe it has been several weeks since I have posted a blog. Time flies by when you are having fun and living life!   My gifts over the past couple of weeks have been rather simple and I have had a little bit of writers block trying to blog about the daily gifts.  To check out my daily gift list click here.

A couple of month’s back I was contacted by a lady who stumbled upon my blog and has started to follow my gift giving journey.  She had many questions about how I got started, how I figure out what gifts to give, etc.  She e-mailed me first and then I followed up with a phone call to her.  I love hearing from those of you that follow my blog and getting to talk to new people and making personal connections is even better.
I let her know that I had read the book 29 Gifts and that it motivated me to start not just giving only 29 days, but for an entire year.  That year made such an impact in my life that I have continued into year two.  I explained to her that in the beginning, gifts were sometimes hard to come by and many days I relied on creativity and seeking and searching for opportunities. But, as the days, weeks and months went by opportunities started to present themselves and the gift giving became a daily habit.  What do the experts say; it takes 21 days of consistent actions to build a habit?

I checked in with this young lady at the end of her first month and she gave me permission to share her response and experience. Here it is:
“Hi Stephanie- I am so excited to tell you about my 29 days that unintentionally has turned into 31 and going.

 Well, it hasn’t been easy, but it has been interesting and very surprising.  I found that on every single occasion that I gave something, I got something in return.  This was not my intention what-so-ever but I have received an award for every act. 
The most interesting incidence of giving happened one day when I was frustrated very upset and couldn’t focus on something to give. So I took an idea from you and while I was running errands, I drove through a drive-thru and purchased a coffee drink and of course, paid for the car behind me.  On my way home, I noticed the same car behind me.  I didn’t think anything of it but then I actually started to wonder if I had offended the driver somehow. 

Well, she followed me home. I got out of my car ready to apologize when an old friend popped out of her car and thanked me for the coffee and wanted to know why I hadn’t just waved her down so we could have coffee together.  I had no idea I knew the person. It has been a few years, I didn’t recognize the car and I deliberately didn’t look in my review mirror because for some reason, this particular act was made me nervous.
Another beautiful thing I am finding is that every time I talk about this with family and friends, I get more “leads” if you will for giving and others are considering a journey of their own. 

On day 29 an acquaintance asked me to provide them some consultative services for a fee.  I volunteered my effort – that leads to a nice contract for the spring. Completely unexpected but very cool! I have continued with day 30 and 31 and will keep going. I do think it is a habit now, another reward for me.

So when I started, I did not expect rewards.  It is strange. I love giving and in the past, over thought things so much that when I gave, the recipient often felt like they had to give something back to me which was very uncomfortable for both of us.  This journey, while I think about it every single day, has made things so much easier in that the gifts are simple, unpretentious and don’t render that feeling of obligation on anyone’s part

So glad I caught your blog on this!  It doesn’t matter if my gifts are even acknowledged by the recipients or if I even know who directly benefits- I think the practice of just giving changes so many things we can’t be aware of unless we make the effort.”

I hope this young lady’s story inspires you to start your gift giving journey today.  I encourage you to start on this amazing adventure. Even if your goal is to just give a gift for a day, a week or month.  It is a start.  I can almost guarantee that if you make it to 21 days, it will not only become a habit but a lifestyle that will change your life and those around you.

If you have questions or need ideas drop me an e-mail at or leave a comment. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 13-The Gift of Life

Today my gift was a planned gift.  It has been on my calendar for weeks.  It was a gift, to be honest; I wasn’t looking forward to giving.  It is not that I didn’t want to give the gift, but more that I was anxious, nervous and a bit scared.

January is National Blood Donor Month and I had signed up to donate blood.  Our local high school, Kouts High School, was having a blood drive and this was my opportunity to give the gift of life and hopefully motivate others to do the same thing.
I have only given blood once back in 2008 when I was in the police academy.  We had a blood drive competition between the squads and since I am a competitive person I wasn’t going to chicken out in front of all the guys,  even though several others did.  I had a positive experience and not for sure why I was so worked up today. 

Prior to leaving I was anxious and trying to find every excuse in the book not to go.  We had received a couple of inches of snow last night and so I was convinced I couldn’t get out of my driveway or the roads were going to be too bad to drive.  But I knew none of this was true.
I arrived safely at the school, snow on the road in all.  I quickly learned that the majority of the people donating where high school students.  This was such an encouraging thing to witness.  All the chairs were filled with students giving blood.  I must admit, I was flattered when the man checking me in thought I was a student.  After I was checked- in I had to review several documents and then received a coupon from Culvers for a free pint of frozen custard.  Bonus! 

I anxiously waited for my number to be called.  My number was called and I met with a nurse who pricked my finger to test my hemoglobin.  All looked good so I got to move onto the questionnaire on the computer.  It was a bunch of, “Have you ever….” questions.  I completed the questionnaire and the nurse looked at the results and ask if I had traveled out of the country in the last year.  I stated, “Yes, to Mexico.”  She requested a list of all the placed I had traveled while in Mexico. I told her, “Cancun, Riviera Maya and Tululm.”  She says, “Tulum! You can’t donate blood if you have been to Tulum due to your risk for malaria.”  Who knew!
So my gift of life failed.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t give blood but maybe secretly relieved.   I will be able to try again in February.  Since I was unable to give blood I made a financial contribution to the American Red Cross.

Did you know…
·         The American Red Cross needs to collect 22,000 units of blood each weekday and
·         Around 15,000 units each weekend to meet patient needs
·         Every two seconds, someone needs blood.

To find a blood drive near you go to  I encourage you to donate blood and give the gift of life. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 9-Super Bowl XLVI-An opportunity to give

Since starting on this gift giving journey I have been surprised by many things, but two in particular. #1-How many opportunities there are to give once I opened my heart. I have post-its on my desks of reminder of gifts and a file folder of gift giving ideas. Gift ideas are everywhere! #2- I’m realizing there are so many people and organizations doing some pretty cool things to make a difference.

With this said, I wish the news was filled more with #2 instead of all the doom and gloom we see today.  No wonder so many people are negative and depressed.  We are surrounded by negative and depressing information everywhere we turn.  I challenge you to seek stories that are uplifting and put you in a good mood.   I also encourage you to share those stories with others. Let’s start a revolution of positive and inspiring information filling our inboxes and facebook walls!
I am fortunate to work for Cisco Systems, Inc., a company that makes giving back and volunteering a priority.  Through Cisco, a sponsor of this event, I was presented an opportunity to donate to a service project related to Super Bowl XLVI called Super Basketsfor Hope.  

According to their website, Super Baskets for Hope is the first service project in NFL history to extend its reach nationwide.   Super Baskets for Hope will deliver gift-filled baskets to 7,000 hospitalized children in each of America’s 32 NFL cities. The outreach project is a collaborative effort of Riley Children’sFoundation, the Basket of Hope program, and former Indianapolis Colts coach, Tony Dungy.
My gift on day #9 was a financial donation to Super Baskets for Hope. To donate or learn about what is in the baskets, check out Super Baskets of Hope website at

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 7 & 8- BCS Championship Game… I don’t really care!

I was sitting in the "man cave" watching the BCS Championship game because I felt like it was the thing to do. But as I was sitting there I felt like I was wasting time.  I don’t really care if Alabama or LSU wins.  My team, the University of Michigan won the Sugar Bowl that makes me happy! So I decided to quit watching the football game to come blog! 

Do you have life goals, a life list or a bucket list?  One of the things on my life list is to travel to all 50 states.  I have 17 more to go and hope to knock off at least Wyoming and Oregon this year. 
My husband was out of town this weekend so one of my friends came over and we planned a trip to Wyoming.  Talk about God’s country. I was looking at all the pictures of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks and can’t wait to go hiking and maybe even hang-gliding!  My gift for Saturday was a treat for my friend (and to be honest myself also).  I bought beautifully decorated cupcakes from Designer Desserts.  I wish I would have taken pictures. I bought my friend the chocolate cupcake that had teal icing, sprinkles and a cherry on top and me a coconut cream pie cupcake that really tasted like coconut cream pie. They were delicious!
On Sunday I decided to go to church.  I had been out of the habit for almost a year. I have no real good excuse for not going.  I try to use my husband as my excuse since he works most Saturday nights and sleeps in on Sundays. But let’s be real, I’m a big girl and could go by myself. I just choose not too!

This past year I was blessed to meet a friend whose husband also works nights so on Sunday we attended church together.  My gift on Sunday was a financial gift to Valparaiso Nazarene.  I really enjoyed the service.  The worship band’s energy was contagious and the pastor preached from the Bible, was relevant and humorous.  I think I will be going back again!
I really try to support local small businesses when I can and I encourage you to do the same.  I hope everyone has a blessed week.  Try to give a gift if you can, even if it is just smiling, asking someone how they are doing or holding the door open for the person behind you. All little gifts make an impact!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 6-Bubble Smoothie?

I think I must be out of the loop, but before last night I had never heard of “bubbles.”  I learned that bubbles are tiny tapioca pearls that can be added to tea and smoothies.  They are dark in color, chewy and have a sweet taste.

Last night I met Wendy Taddeucci, owner of Simply Organized, LLC at Uptown Café for drinks. I would say coffee but neither of us ordered coffee!  It was my treat and gift for the day.  Wendy ordered a bubble smoothie, which I had never heard of but it looked yummy.  I think I am going to have to try one the next time I am at Uptown Café.  
Wendy and I are both professional organizers and have been organizing in NW Indiana for over five years but have never met.  We had a fun evening discussing what it is like to work with people and change their life by helping them get organized.  We had similar stories and both learned that we have laughed, cried and become friends with many of our clients.

Are there professionals in your community who you would like to meet, collaborate with and get to know better?  If so, reach out to them and ask them to join you for coffee or a bubbled smoothie! I have so enjoyed getting to know many fascinating people over the years.  I encourage you to look outside the four walls of your office/home and get to know someone new today!

Check out Wendy on TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive on January 29th.   

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 3-Letters to families of fallen officers

Last year I started writing letters to families who had a loved one that was killed in the line of duty.  Due to other gifts I was able to give throughout the year I got behind on these letters.  I kept a list of letters I need to send and eventually I will send letters to every family that lost a loved one in the line of duty starting in 2011 until I decided it is something I should no longer continue. No sure that will ever happen!

Today I wrote letters to the families of Border Patrol Agents Eduardo Rojas and Hector Clark.  They were killed in the line of duty on May 12, 2011 when their vehicle was struck by a train.  Both Agents left behind a wife and two children.  To learn more about these officers click on their names.

Through a tragedy that took place in my home town on December 30th, a young, vibrant 18 year old girl lost her life way too early and was laid to rest today.  I was reminded how quickly those we love can be taken away from us.  Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them.  RIP Emily.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2-Recycled Christmas Cards

Do you still have your Christmas cards laying around the house?  Want to help a great organization fund raise with your used cards?  If so, mail them to St. Jude's Ranch for Children. They recycle the cards and sell them to raise funds for their organization.  They also except all other types of greeeting cards. 

This was my gift for today and it only took me about 10 minutes to go through my cards, place in an envelope and prepare to ship. 

Here are their card donating tips:

  • All types of greeting cards, including Christmas are used.
  • Only the card front can be used (please check to be sure the back side is clear of any writing, etc.)
  • We can not accept Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting cards.
  • 5″ x 7″ size or smaller is preferred.
  • Mail donations to :
    St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
    Recycled Card Program
    100 St. Jude’s Street
    Boulder City, NV 89005
For additional information:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

365 Days of Giving

Happy New Year!  Well 2011, a great year, has come to an end and I am looking forward to the possibilities for 2012.  A year ago today I made a goal to give a gift everyday for year and I am happy to report that I accomplished that goal yesterday!

In the beginning I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into or where my gift giving journey would take me.  It has been fun, challenging, heart-warming and life changing.  I have met many great people, learned about wonderful organizations and causes and have made many new friends.
This journey that started as a challenge has turned into a new way of life for me; something I can’t live without.  Over the past couple of months people have been asking me if I am going to continue with my daily gift giving and without hesitation my answer has been, “YES!” 

I know this will sound strange, but I think I would be sad not to give a gift every day.  It is something I look forward to and enjoy the smiles it brings to people faces.  It is something truly being done with no expectation of receiving anything in return.  I also strongly feel this journey I have been on and will continue in 2012 is part of God’s plan for me. What I am suppose to be doing.  And until I feel otherwise, I will continue to make the commitment to give.
Are you wondering what my final gift of the year was?  It was a New Years Eve Party at my home for a group of close friends.  There was one catch if they wanted to attend, they couldn’t bring any food.  Usually when we have parties we all pitch in and everyone brings food but not this party.  I think I outdid myself and had tons left over.  With the help of my husband, I spent half the day in the kitchen preparing all types of yummy appetizers.  We are not partiers so the night included watching a football game, Family Feud, Dance Central, Rock Band and the Newlywed game.  We all made it to midnight and some of us even made it until about 1:30.  We had fun laughing, joking with each other and more importantly enjoying each other’s company.  I love to entertain so this was a fun gift to give.

I am not big into New Year’s resolutions, but I do set many goals for myself for the year.  If you do the same and I hope one of your goals for the year is to increase your giving!
Thank you for letting me be a part of your life for this past year. I hope you continue to follow me on my gift giving journey.  Have a blessed 2012!