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.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ride Two-Gether

During this first week of December, I’ve started decorating for Christmas.  I especially love putting all of my ornaments on the tree because I have a wonderfully eclectic collection with a story behind almost every one.  My mother got me started, giving me an ornament every year when I was young.  Other ornaments came from friends.  Some I bought for myself just because I liked them, such as the space shuttle ornament I got at the Kennedy Space Center when I once had a work project at Cape Canaveral.  A few ornaments are even homemade, like the candy cane that I made in my high school science club by holding a glass rod over a Bunsen burner.  (Alas, that one broke after a few seasons.)  One ornament, however, is my very favorite.

Robert and I have been married for 18½ years.  During that time, I’ve been known to come up with some crazy schemes.  He’s pretty used to it by now.  In fact, he’s usually a really good sport.  Robert got initiated right off the bat as we were planning our wedding.  I thought that it would be great to leave our reception on a tandem bicycle.  At first, he wasn’t too sure, but I finally convinced him.  We didn’t have our own tandem back then, and so we borrowed one from one of my coworkers.  Riding off on the tandem was so fun and memorable, and afterwards Robert said that he was glad I talked him into it.

As Christmas approached that year, I wanted to find a special ornament to commemorate our first Christmas being married.  This wasn’t the easiest task because most of the first-Christmas-together ornaments I saw were pretty cheesy; I’m not a hearts-and-flowers kind of gal.  Then, one day I was doing a little Christmas shopping at our local mall.  It was shortly before closing time, and I decided to make a quick dash into the Hallmark store on the off chance that they had an ornament I’d like.  Thinking back, it was more like an external force guided me into that store.  I made a beeline for the ornament section and immediately spotted the absolute perfect ornament.  On the front it reads, “First Christmas Together 1995.”  Amazingly, the only one they had left was the one on display.

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