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, January 5, 2014

How to Give Gifts during a Blizzard

Gift giving can be a bit difficult when one is stuck inside for a day or moredue to weather, illness or lack of transporation.  My original gift was thwarted (you will see it in the next couple of days) so I had to come up with Plan B. 
Here are a couple of ideas of gifts to give when you are homebound:

·         Donate airline miles or hotel points to friends, family or charities
·         Online financial donations to non-profits, as most have online giving options
·         Send encouraging texts to friends or family members
·         Write letters (I would have done this, but since mail doesn’t come on Sunday I couldn’t.) Note: When I write letters, I count it as a gift the day I send, not the day they receive it. Just makes it easier for me to track since many times I write to people I don’t know.
·         Phone a friend or family member
·         Bake goodies and deliver to neighbors (be careful if conditions are extreme)
·         Make treats or dinner for your family
·         Spend quality time with your family baking, playing games, building a puzzle, working on a project, setting goals for the year, planning a vacation, dreaming, etc with no interruptions from the phone, iPad and computer.
·         Shovel snow for a neighbor
·         Pamper your pets
·         Email favorite recipes to friends
Today since I’m stuck in the house I donated
United AirlineMiles to the Wounded Warrior Project. 

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to honor and
empower service members who incurred a
service-connected wound, injury or illness on or after September 11, 2001. WWP started when a group of veterans and friends was moved to action by the stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Through 18 mind, body, educational and economically-empowering programs, WWP helps wounded service members and their families make a successful and well-adjusted transition back to civilian life.

Please share other gift giving ideas for when you are stranded at home.
Be safe and stay warm,

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tips for donating clothing and coats this winter to shelters

Today my Gift Idea of the Day came from a friend who posted on her FB page that she was cleaning out her coat closet to donate coats to the local shelter.  This is a wonderful idea!

Over the years I have had the privilege of volunteering with many organizations that house and help the homeless.  Every organization is different in how they operate and what donations they will accept.
Here are some tips for donating your clothing and coats this year:

1.       Search your closets for gently used clothes that you haven’t worn in awhile or that doesn’t fit.  Something that you consider no longer useful may be considered valuable by someone else.

2.       Check for stains, holes and other defects.  You want what you are donating to be able to be worn and to make those wearing the clothes feel good about themselves. Rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t wear it. Don’t donate it!

3.       Check the pockets of the items you are donating for personal items, money and other valuables.

4.       Wash the clothes and make sure they are clean and fresh.

5.       Identify the shelter where you want to donate your clothing/coat items.

6.       Verify the shelter is taking clothing and coat donations.  You can either do this by calling your local shelter or check their website.  For instance, in my community the local men’s shelter takes clothing and coat donations but the women’s shelter does not as they receive their clothing donations from local resale shops.

7.       If they accept donations, verify collection dates and times. 

8.       If they don’t accept clothing donations, either locate another shelter accepting donations or donate to a resale shop that donates their profits and clothing to shelters.

These are just a few tips I thought of off the top of my head this morning.  Please share other ideas and recommendations for donating clothing. I love learning from others!
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Friday, January 3, 2014

January 3, 2014

Several months ago my husband started a new position at work.  He now spends some days in the office and others out on the road.  His first week at the office he comes home and says, “You know the other guys wives make treats to take in to the office so if you can start making stuff to take in that would be great.”
Well I have tried to live up to the standard of making sure my man has goodies to take into work. This summer I picked apples from the tree in our backyard and made homemade applesauce. This was a big hit!  I also made homemade salsa.  Mine was a little plain so my hubby added more jalapenos to the mix to spice it up. Then it was good. I have made several types of cookies, candies and even a cheesecake.  Today one of my gifts was a plateful of homemade candies.  It included the pretzel/rolo/M&M candies I mentioned yesterday and then Trisha Yearwood’s Crockpot Candy.  Note to self on the Crockpot candy, only cook for 2 hours instead of the recommended 3!

Today was also cleaning today. I am blessed enough to have someone clean my house once a month.  I know what you are thinking, “her house only gets cleaned once a month!?” No, my husband and I clean it the remainder of the month, it’s just nice to have a break every couple of weeks. Anyways, we have a 90lb German shepherd, Boss.  For the most part he spends his days either in the police car or in his indoor/outdoor kennel in the garage.  If you live in the Midwest you know it has been like living in the arctic around here lately. Due to the cold weather we keep Boss in the house most of the time.  He sheds like crazy. I’m a bit of a neat freak so his hair drives me CRAZY!  Last night I was glad the housekeeper was coming because I needed to vacuum and I knew she would clean it up.  But when I got up this morning I thought, no you are going to vacuum the carpets and sweep up the hardwood and tile floors of the dog hair to make her job a bit easier.  So I did just that. Not a glamorous gift, but still a gift!

My final gift I will blog about later as it is something this journey has taught me.  Check back later to find out!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2, 2014

Some days my gifts are planned and others days they are spontaneous and random. Today they were planned. I started prepping last night by making banana-pineapple bread and homemade candies. I delivered baked goodies to three of my neighbors. It was frigid outside and snow was coming down. I loved it. I have been cooped up in the house all day, so getting fresh air was welcomed.


Why I Started Giving Daily

In late 2010 I read the book 29 Gifts. It was an amazing book of a young women's battle to regain control over her life after being diagnosed with MS. In the book, the author, Cami Walker challenges everyone to go through the 29 day giving journey. I never really understood why 29 days, so it became my goal to go beyond the 29 days and do an entire year of giving.  
I gave a daily gift for 522 consecutive days.  Why 522?  Read here to see how the journey ended.

After my journey ended I took a little  time to reflect what the journey meant and I knew I had to keep giving.  I would say on most days from then until now I gave a gift. I just wasn’t good at tracking and sharing.  As the end of 2013 drew near I kept getting this feeling I needed to make a commitment to the daily giving and to share what I was doing.  It has always been my hope that the giving isn’t about me and my gifts, but that my stories motivate others to get involved and start giving.  There are so many ways to give and I’m a big believer that sometimes the smallest of gifts have the biggest impact.  A simple smile to a stranger could change the course of their entire day.  An encouraging text or email to a friend may come at a time when they need it the most. 

I would love for you to come on this journey with me; share with me and others how you are a making a difference, as I truly believe, 1 can make a difference but many can change the world.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1, 2014

I'm starting my daily gift giving journey again in 2014. 

Today's gift: 

#1-  A phone call with my mom. We spent most of the hour talking about our goals for 2014. 

#2- I cooked a spaghetti dinner for my husband. Original I know, but I had spaghetti sauce that I canned this summer that I needed to use. I must say it was delicious!

I have also started a facebook page for my journey. I want to share this journey with as many people as possible so we can continue to make this world a better place. I hope you will join me on facebook and share with others your gift giving ideas.