Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas Cards, or lack thereof

I don't know how to address this (pun intended) without sounding like a Scrooge, but last year I didn't send Christmas cards.  Why? 
  1. The time and the stress of taking and choosing THE right picture, layout and words. 
  2. The cost of the cards themselves and the postage (we've moved a lot and have a long list of people on that list).
  3.  I already post pics of my kids way too often already - it's not like most of these people haven't heard from me in a year.
Was it hard?  Yes.  I felt guilty with each card I received, but I did let all my friends on facebook know I wouldn't be sending cards out and why. 

Did I cheat?  Yes, a little.  I took an offer of 10 free Christmas cards from a card printing company and sent them to people that aren't on facebook like my grandma.

What did I do instead?  I took the money I would have spent on cards (which really adds up if you think about it) and I donated it to a charity.  We had more time to concentrate on the true meaning of CHRISTmas.

Am I doing it again this year?  You betcha!  Some ideas for where to donate that $$ you would have spent on cards are: 

  • a local mitten tree, food bank or fuel bank
  • SoleHope ($10 sponsors a pair of shoes)
  • Amazima ministries
Are you in?  Comment below with your answers or suggestions for alternative uses for your Christmas card budget.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Give Thanks, Give Hope

Lots of family gatherings will be held in the next few months.  Hopefully they will be precious times with memories made.   These times are purposeful in themselves, but here are two ideas to spread the love a little.

Order a Holiday Shoe Party kit from Sole Hope.  After the big meal, gather around the table and cut out some shoes for kids that may never get a Christmas present or a warm Thanksgiving meal.  It can be ordered here from the Sole Hope store.  Sounds like the start of a great yearly tradition to me.

Maybe cutting shoes out isn't for you, or maybe you want to do even more! How about asking your guests to bring an item that Sole Hope uses in their jigger removals in Africa, such as: 
  • large safety pins
  • medical gloves
  • gauze wrap
  • emla cream (or other topical numbing cream)
  • stickers for children
  • monetary donations to purchase basins and soap in country.

Supplies should be sent to:

Sole Hope
P.O. Box 1492
Asheville, NC 28802

So c'mon, give thanks, give HOPE!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Empowerment Store

If you've read the book or watched the PBS documentary Half the Sky, then you've heard of Somaly Mam.  Somaly is a survivor of human trafficking and has worked tirelessly to help others like her survive too.  The foundation which bears her name and which she co-founded has an aptly titled  Empowerment Store with beautiful items for sale made by survivors.  And like so many of the items I like to feature, a purchase from The Empowerment Store has layers of purpose.  This is not just financial support for these survivors, it is also a statement that you stand with them and they are not alone.  It is a stand against trafficking.  Wearing the jewelry or clothing is a good conversation starter about this cause.  And lastly you will have a beautiful gift for yourself or someone else. 

I ordered the medium silk empowerment necklace.  It is $25 and shipping and handling was $8.20.   There's not a whole lot of information on the necklace in the description, such as length or a photo of a person wearing the necklace, so I was a little surprised at how long the medium is.  I imagine since these aren't mass produced that each necklace is a little different but my medium necklace can comfortably be worn as a long single strand or doubled.  You cannot select a certain color.  Some people may not like that you cannot choose a color (perhaps you could request a certain color when ordering), but I LOVED the element of surprise when opening my package, not knowing what color I would get.  I received a lovely red necklace within a few days of placing my order.  Oh and one more really nice thing, I received via e-mail a tax receipt for the portion of the purchase that is tax deductible.

So who on your nice list is getting something from The Empowerment Store this year?