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.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Gearing Up

Originally, I planned to ride my first century today, the first Saturday of the month.  However, a couple of months ago Robert and I planned a vacation (our first full week off in 2½ years!), and since we didn’t get home from the airport until nearly 2:00 A.M. this morning, I decided to wait until next Saturday to ride my January century.

I am ready to ride!  This is partly due to my growing anticipation, but also I’m hoping that the five days of riding we just did in Costa Rica will put me in great form to ride next week.  We were on an organized cycling trip with a company called Backroads.  We rode in the central portion of Costa Rica, which has volcanic mountains running the length of the country between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.  That meant LOTS of climbing, which I enjoyed very much.  One day we even climbed the continental divide, comparable to at least the Three Gap Fifty, probably closer to the Six Gap Century.  (These two rides are held in conjunction annually in Dahlonega, Georgia.)

Looking down at the clouds as we crossed the Costa Rican continental divide

Another reason my trip prepared me for A Year of Centuries is because of a New Year’s tradition common in Costa Rica and other Hispanic countries.  As the clock counts down the last 12 seconds to midnight on New Year’s Eve, you eat one grape per second, making a wish for the coming year with each grape.  It was a natural for me to wish for 12 excellent centuries and good exposure and generous donations for my 12 charities.

Well, the grape countdown was a good idea in theory. Usually, people use smaller, seedless grapes for the New Year’s countdown, but our group had rather challenging grapes – large and with seeds.  On about grape 8 or 9, I was laughing so hard that grapes were about to come out of my nose!

I didn’t get all 12 grapes eaten within the 12 seconds, but I hope it doesn’t matter anyway since we did this at 10:00 P.M.  (With our active schedule all week, none of us could stay awake until midnight.)  I hedged my bets and also followed the New Year’s tradition of the Southern U.S., eating some blackeyed peas and collard greens at lunch the next day.  Even if Robert thinks I’m loco, I’m glad I packed those cans in my suitcase.

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