Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lesson Learned

Today I had the sixth and final laser treatment on the scar on my chin.  I’ve been having these treatments every five to six weeks since June.  I go to my plastic surgeon’s office, but his nurse actually does the procedure.  I asked her if she pretends that she’s Dr. Evil with his “laser.”

In the months following my crash, I learned a lot of things.  I learned more about bone, teeth, and scar tissue than I ever thought I would.  Also, I pushed my personal envelope of mental and physical toughness as I waited through the long healing process and continued to train and race during that time.  One thing I discovered, though, surprised me.  I confess that I had a prejudice that I wasn’t even aware of.  I’ve had a very judgmental attitude toward plastic surgery.

Obviously, some people have a true need for reconstructive plastic surgery, like after a mastectomy, but (thankfully) this hasn’t been on my radar screen.  On the infrequent occasions I thought anything at all about plastic surgery, it was always in terms of what I considered unnecessary, even frivolous treatment – a nip here, a tuck there.  It never occurred to me that plastic surgery would be appropriate for an injury such as the deep laceration I got on my chin during the crash.  Nobody wants a disfiguring scar like that, especially on his/her face.  I’m grateful that one of my friends who visited me in the emergency room urged me to see a plastic surgeon right away.  If I had simply stuck with the sewing job that the emergency room doctor did, I probably really would look like some kind of inverted Frankenstein.  (One of my ongoing scar treatments has been three-times-a-day massage, which I jokingly refer to as doing the Monster Mash.)  However, between surgery and other treatments recommended by my plastic surgeon, the scar is not too bad.  It helps that it’s in the natural crease of my chin.  Regardless, I’m sure I notice it much more than anyone else does.

So, it turns out that plastic surgery can be a very good thing.  If it has made me feel so much better, who am I to say that someone else’s plastic surgery – of whatever variety – doesn’t help him or her just as much?  I needed a little plastic surgery on my thoughts, too, eh?  My hope is that I can always recognize and correct any other wrong in myself.  Proverbs tells us that wisdom and knowledge are more valuable than silver and gold.  Even Dr. Evil might say that they are worth more than…one million dollars.

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