How To Create A Gift Basket For A Cancer Patient

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Thanks to Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. for starting this kindness campaign and sponsoring this post.

As a blogger I get to participate in a ton of amazing campaigns but my favorites are ones that let me give back to my community. I was asked if I wanted to join a “spread kindness” initiative to create a gift basket for a cancer patient and I’m happy to be participating. Getting a cancer diagnosis is devastating so making them a gift basket is just a small gesture we can do to show that we care and want to help them get through this difficult time.

Before I created my gift basket I looked online at what items were best to include. At the store I bought cancer fighting foods along with some items to help with self-care and stress-relief and created my basket to give to a cancer patient.

Today I’m sharing what I included in my gift basket. I hope that it gives you ideas if you want to create your own gift basket for someone who has cancer or is going through chemo.

Blanket

The first item I put in the basket was a beautiful, warm blanket to keep the patient warm. Hospital blankets are so scratchy and this nice blanket can bring a bit of home into the hospital.

Fruits & Veggies

Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best cancer fighting foods you can give a cancer patient. I put together a bag of items including spinach, apples, oranges, tomatoes and carrots.

Healthy Meal Starters

I included an organic soup for a quick lunch option. Beans and quinoa are great starters for healthy dinners.

Snacks & Vitamins

Everyone needs snacks and I included some delicious ones that have health benefits as well, like dark chocolate, nuts and fruit strips. I also added Vitamin C gummies, a protein powder, and honey, a natural sweetener.

Stress Relief

Staying stress free is essential so I wanted to include some items to help the cancer patient relax. I put an adult coloring book and colored pencils in the basket along with some candles they could light and some stress relief tea to sip.

Self-Care

In the basket I included some things to pamper them like healing lotion, epson salt crystals for a bath, and Chapstick for dry lips. I added slippers with no-slip bottoms and a pretty head scarf as well.

Want more ideas of things to include in your gift basket? Get more ideas here.

The best part about putting the basket together was getting my kids involved. Kindness is one of the most important qualities that someone can possess and something I want my kids to learn at an early age. I want them to make it their purpose in life to do nice things for people and put smiles on the faces of others. Having lost their grandma to cancer a few years back, this campaign is really a special one for them to help with and I’m happy they could help me make and donate the basket.

Along with creating a gift basket you can bring a home cooked meal, offer to help watch children or pets, hire a cleaning service to help them around their house, pamper them by painting their nails or just lend a listening ear.

I hope you will join me in spreading kindness this year! Tag me on social media with a picture of your basket if you join in and bring a basket to someone. Also, if you have any other ideas of items to include in the gift basket please share in the comments below. Together we can bring a smile to the face of others :)

Make Brushing Fun With Free Coloring Books

coloring sheet

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but thoughts are my own.)

My boys were home from school yesterday due to the cold weather and they are off again today. If your kids are off too and you are looking for something to keep them busy while you are stuck inside I have an idea.

Tom’s of Maine just announced a coloring and activity book called “Brushing Fun,” which supports Oral Health America, a national nonprofit dedicated to oral care and prevention. With each free coloring book download, Tom’s of Maine will donate 10 tubes of its Wicked Cool! natural toothpaste (up to 200,000 tubes) to children in OHA’s  Smiles Across America program.

We downloaded it yesterday and my kids got to coloring them and doing the activity sheets. I liked that you could add your child’s name on them and Lucas liked seeing his name while coloring. Here is one of the finished coloring sheets:

 

As an added bonus, parents enter to win a great Tom’s of Maine prize package. They can show off their kid’s creativity and inspire others to get involved by sharing a photo of a completed page from the coloring book on Facebook or Instagram  using #NaturalSmiles for a chance to win a Tom’s of Maine natural oral care prize pack and a $100 Utrecht Art Store gift card to foster their child’s creativity. Five winners total, one each week.

Want to participate? Find the coloring and activity book download here. Get social with Tom’s of Maine on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Giving Tuesday {Giving Back To My Community Thanks To Kohl’s}

giving back with kohl's

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. Kohl’s provided a gift card that I used to purchase gifts for others in the community.)

I try to give back to my community and those around the world all year round but I absolutely love the fact that there is one day that is called “Giving Tuesday”. This very special day is tomorrow, December 3rd, this year. What a great feeling to see people blowing up social media with talk of giving after a week of shopping and “getting”. When someone from Kohl’s emailed me and asked if they could send me a gift card to go shopping for others I was really excited. I enjoy working with Kohl’s on a regular basis and love that they give back to the community throughout the year with their Kohl’s Cares program. This was just more proof that I’m blessed to partner with such an amazing company.

Once I received the gift card I wanted to shop online right away because Kohl’s had fabulous deals and they were giving Kohl’s cash back so, like their commercial says, it’s like getting paid to shop! I had a few things in mind that I wanted to do with the money. My kids and I had chosen two “angels” off of the angel tree at Church to buy gifts for. The gifts would go to children who had parents in prison. I also wanted to purchase mittens and gloves for the mitten tree which would keep children and adults warm during the cold winter. With the remaining gift card balance I was going to get toys for a local gift mart. These toys would fill a makeshift store in a neighboring low income town’s school and gave parents the chance to “shop” for toys. Paying just $2 per toy allows parents to keep their dignity while being able to afford gifts for their children and then all proceeds go back into the local school. During my first few years of motherhood I would have been one of these parents so I’m happy to be able to help them.

I started with our angel tree gifts. Each parent in prison had written (or dictated) a note for their child that would be attached on the gift. It was humbling to see their Christmas wishes were so simple- they asked for clothes. The 3 year old wanted blue shirts and Spongebob themed clothes. The 6 year old’s wish was red clothes and Angry Bird themed items.

Gifts for the 3 year old- had a coloring book and crayons for him as well

Gifts for the 6 year old

The Angel Tree ministry is such a wonderful ministry and I’m so happy that we could bless not one, but two, kids this year. These kids will see gifts under the Christmas tree and a note from their parent that can’t be with them and I think it will bring such joy to them on Christmas morning.

I bought two 3-packs of mittens for little kids, a 3-pack of gloves for boys in elementary school, and a pair of gloves for a teenager or woman. Though it’s called a mitten tree I realized that we could have brought hats and scarves as well so I will definitely have to keep that in mind next year.

The mitten tree!

I’m still waiting on the second half of my gifts because I ordered the toys just a couple days ago. I found great deals on Thomas The Tank Engine, Melissa & Doug, Imaginext, and lots more to bring to the gift mart in a couple weeks. With my Kohl’s Cash I plan on buying some warm blankets to bring to a local homeless shelter. I bought a sherpa lined blanket from Kohl’s last month that I love so I think that I might get a few of those for the shelter. Again, a huge thanks to Kohl’s for providing the gift card and sharing the love this holiday season.

I hope that this post and the #GivingTuesday campaign have inspired you to think about new ways that you can give back this year. If you have ideas I’d love to read about them in the comments below!

Chicago “Walk For Water” Charity Event

Image courtesy of Living Water International

Image courtesy of Living Water International

Living Water International Chicago is hosting a “Walk for Water” on Aug. 24 in suburban Glen Ellyn. Participants will walk 1.5 miles as a group to Lake Ellyn, where they will collect water in gallon jugs – comparable to the jerry cans used in developing countries. They will then walk back carrying the water, putting themselves in the shoes of the millions of children and adults who spending hours walking each day to reach a water source.

Registration is $20 at ChicagoWalkForWater.eventbrite.com; all proceeds will go toward wells to be drilled in India. Children under 15 may participate for free.

More than 783 million people face the daily challenge of finding water. Many spend 20 hours per week – often trekking seven miles per day – collecting contaminated water, which can lead to life-threatening diseases. Clean water means better sanitation and hygiene, disease and infant death prevention, freed time for paid work and school, full hydration with improved focus and energy and more cooking water for meals.

WHEN: 

Saturday, Aug. 24 at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE:

Ben Franklin Elementary School
350 Bryant Avenue, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

About Living Water International

Living Water International began drilling water wells in 1990. Working in 25 countries around the world and motivated by Christian faith, Living Water strives to implement the most effective and sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene solutions. For more information, visit www.water.cc.

$1 Today= 1 New Pair Of Shoes For A Child

shoes

Photo courtesy of Soles4Souls

For every $1 you donate today to Soles4Souls, they can provide one additional pair of shoes to someone in need. $20 provides 20 pairs of shoes. $500 will change the lives of 500 people – maybe an entire community! You may even make your donation in honor of or in memory of a loved one.

Learn more and donate over at the Soles4Souls website!

 

2013 Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program

kohl's cares

Kohl’s is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, recognizing outstanding kids ages 6-18 who have made a positive impact through volunteering!

The 2013 Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program will award $425,000 in scholarships and prizes to more than 2,300 young volunteers across the country.  To nominate young volunteers for a Kohl’s Cares scholarship, visit kohlskids.com. Nominations will be accepted through March 15, and those wishing to nominate a youth volunteer must be 21 years or older.

The scholarship program is open to the public, nominations are free.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for posting this information however, I am working with them on other projects.)

WaterAid {How You Can Help Give Clean Water To Those In Need}

wateraid photo

Clean, safe water is something most of us here in the United States take for granted, yet worldwide 800 million people do not have access to it and 2.5 billion have nowhere safe and clean to go to the toilet. As a result, 2,000 children die every day from easily prevented diseases with countless more unable to attend school. Millions of women are unable to work because they spend so much time collecting water and caring for sick children.

Founded in 1981, WaterAid transforms lives by helping the world’s poorest people gain access to safe water and sanitation. Together with local organizations, communities and individuals, WaterAid uses affordable and locally appropriate solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to people in developing countries.

5 WAYS YOU CAN HELP:

-Spread the word! Here’s a quick tweet you can share:

“2,000 children die every day because they don’t have access to clean water. Do something about it! http://www.wateraidamerica.org/”

-Donate online here

-Shop for life here

-Organize an event to raise money

-Change your Facebook cover page in support

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. I am a member of the Global Team of 200 which is a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.)

Verizon’s HopeLine For Domestic Violence

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This holiday season you can support Verizon’s fight against domestic violence.  Nearly one in four women, one in seven men, and over 3 million children have been affected by domestic violence. Wireless phones and technology can serve as a vital link to emergency or support services in a time of crisis or as a reliable, safe connection to employers, family and friends as survivors rebuild their lives.

HopeLine® from Verizon puts the nation’s most reliable network to work in the community by turning no-longer used cell phones into support for domestic violence victims and survivors. If you will be receiving a new phone this Christmas please consider donating your old phone to this great cause.

(Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Savvy Moms program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.)

Hunger In America {And How We Can Help}

unilever cross off hunger

One in six Americans does not have access to enough food to sustain a healthy life.

One in six.

In America.

I’m not talking 3rd world countries here, I’m talking in this nation that I live in and most of you, my readers, live in as well. This country where myself and so many others go to our fridge, open it up, look upon all the food in it and close it declaring “there’s nothing to eat!”. What we really mean is there is nothing we feel like eating.

Never again.

Never again will I look into that fridge full of food and say I have nothing to eat because there are many people in my town, and in your town, that really don’t have anything to eat. They could only wish to have near the amount of food that I do.

When I think about how many go hungry every day it hurts me and I am moved to do something about it. Thankfully there are companies that want to do something about hunger, too. Unilever is one of those companies.

Unilever is committed to donating more than two million meals to families in need with Feeding America and every item on your shopping list counts.  Show your support by adding Unilever brands to your cart next time you shop.  Together we can help to Cross Off Hunger.

How will I show my support? By purchasing some of my favorite brands this season!

Ragu Sauce for pasta

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Imperial Margarine for Santa’s cookies

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Axe Shower Gels for stocking stuffers

Another way you and I can help those who are hungry is by learning more about food banks and providing items that they need. When I thought of food banks before I always assumed they only accepted food items but I recently learned that’s not the case. According to an article I read about the top 10 needs of food banks, personal care items and baby items are also greatly needed.

Volunteers at food banks and soup kitchens are needed as well, so that’s another way that you and I can make a difference and help cross off hunger.

What are your ideas to help those who are hungry?

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and  Unilever  #CBias #SocialFabric #BetterTogether )

A Last Minute Gift Idea From Global Giving

global giving

GlobalGiving, a virtual marketplace for philanthropy, allows anyone with an internet connection to support more than 1,000 pre-screened charities in the U.S. and around the world. These are groups providing real-world solutions to help educate children, feed the hungry, build houses and infrastructure, protect our environment, empower women (and men), rescue animals, and support active military and veterans – just to name a few.

The best part? You can support this extensive network of impactful charities with a simple gift card that your friends and family will love this holiday season. For as little as $10, you can make things easy on yourself and purchase a gift card that everyone on your gift list will enjoy – from your kids to your Uncle to the mailman – and give them the complete freedom to choose a cause they wish to support. Plus, it’s the gift that keeps on giving long after the holidays with regular updates from those on the ground on how your donation is making a difference.

I was given a gift card to donate to a project of my choice. I have a handful of causes that I’m passionate about so I looked at all of my choices. I decided to donate my money to Develop Africa, Inc. which goes to providing mosquito nets and medication in Sierra Leone. Here’s a little bit about the cause:

Proven insecticide-treated nets save lives by protecting them from mosquito bites and the killer disease of malaria. Project also provides preventive anti-malaria tablets to Sierra Leoneans. The nets are useful particularly for protecting vulnerable children who are less resistant to the malaria. Additionally, when people fall sick, there is considerable lost time and loss of productivity for all members of the family. By providing a net, you are helping to support economic development.

Want to donate to a good cause in honor of someone you love or purchase a gift card to give to someone? You can do so here.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. The gift card I received went right to the project I supported.)

 

Making A Difference With World Vision {Giveaway}

beaded necklace

Looking for ways to make a difference this season? Here are three good ways to do so, courtesy of World Vision:

•Volunteer Virtually: Not everyone is able to physically volunteer, but you can volunteer virtually by donating food kits online through World Vision. Each ‘kit’ contains enough food to feed a family of five for one day ($16 per kit).

• Give a Meaningful Gift: World Vision’s Gift Catalog has hundreds of gifts such as goats, fresh water wells, and life- saving medicines that can be given in the name of a family member, teacher, co-worker or child and help one of more than 825,000 people around the world who benefit from gift catalog items. Gifts range in price from $16 to $39,000, and there are more than 250 items online to choose from. After purchasing a Gift Catalog item, the person whose name the gift was given in, can receive a special card describing the gift and its impact.

•Teach Generosity: Help children understand the importance of generosity and giving to others. World Vision’s Gift Catalog can be a helpful educational tool. The Pendleton family, of Colorado, adopted their son from Kazakhstan. When he saw the Mongolian Ger in the catalog, he immediately wanted to buy one for people in his homeland. “I didn’t know how to explain to a 10-year-old that $1,862 is a lot of money, so I didn’t,” said mom Amy. “And sure enough, he raised it all!”

I shared how my four year old created a “giving list” from the World Vision catalog. You can read that post here.

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 GIVEAWAY:

One of my readers will win an Artisan Beaded Necklace from World Vision

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me how you give back to others

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Subscribe to this blog via email or RSS {look in the upper right hand corner}

4) Comment on another blog post

Giveaway ends December 23, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US 18+ only.

(Disclosure: I received a scarf from World Vision but this is a cause that’s important to me and all thoughts are my own.)

Giving Tuesday: 5 Unique No-Cost Ways To Give Back

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World Homeless Day

Today has been designated as “Giving Tuesday“. It’s the Tuesday after two huge shopping days (Black Friday & Cyber Monday) and a day to give back to others. I’d like to share 5 creative ways that you can give back to others. These 5 ideas from Call 2 Recycle won’t cost you a penny but will greatly bless another.

1.       Offer a Veteran a Ride

The Disabled American Veterans’ Voluntary Services Program provides numerous opportunities for men and women of all ages to help make a difference in the lives of disabled veterans: http://dav.org/volunteers/

2.       Spend time at a Shelter

You don’t have to be an animal expert to help out at your community’s shelter. You just need to have the time and desire to lend a helping hand: http://www.aspca.org/adoption/help-your-local-shelter.aspx

3.       Help safeguard the environment

It is as simple as recycling batteries. The kind that get recharged, like the ones in laptops and cell phones, contain mercury and lead, heavy metals that can contaminate the air, topsoil, and water if they’re tossed in the regular garbage.  Call2Recycle has partnered with major recycling facilities in the United States and Canada to process and reclaim materials from rechargeable batteries and cellphones. You can find a Call2Recycle recycling location here: http://www.call2recycle.org/locator/

4.       Declutter and Donate

You might not think so, but you can donate your old running shoes (they’ll recycle them!), same with your old mattress, and much more: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-10-2010/savings_challenge_give_your_stuff_to_a_good_cause.html

5.       Offer to babysit for free, it could be a friend or relative

There are a few things you can do to help out families in your neighborhood and even your own that would be much appreciated: http://www.kidsforcommunity.org/family-community-services.html

Help Another Parent Out {Quote}

Help a parent by showing up

via Autism United

Know  a parent with a child who has special needs? I’m sure that something as simple as a phone call or an offer to help will mean so much to them this holiday season!

Operation Christmas Child: Collection Week Coming Up!

Operation Christmas Child

With National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child coming up in less than a couple week I wanted to share a video about how much these boxes touch the kids who receive them.

To learn more about Operation Christmas Child you can check out the Samaritan’s Purse website.

Is Your State Pink Enough? Help Spread Breast Cancer Awareness!‏

is your state pink enough

I love sharing about easy ways to help causes. Here’s another one! Visit www.PaintTheCountryPink.com to virtually paint your state pink. For each painter, dressbarn will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society (up to $100,000 in total). I just did it and, in about a minute, painted Illinois pink and helped raise money for cancer research!

What state are you painting pink?

Jacob’s Christmas GIVING List

World Vision Gift Catalog

Jacob is a typical four year old. He sees a commercial. He wants the toy featured. He goes in the toy aisle at the store. He wants this toy and that toy and oh, this one, too.

He started his Christmas list months ago and it includes more toys than he will ever get. And it keeps on growing and growing {which is partially our fault because they’ve been very spoiled on past holidays}.

My goal this year is to get him to think about how he can give to others and focus on what others might need instead of just what he wants. We started by looking at the World Vision Gift Catalog which is full of gifts we can give to others to truly change their lives. Gifts like cows to feed families, chickens to produce eggs they can eat and sell, and water, something we take for granted everyday. As we looked through the catalog I read him what each thing was and explained why someone would need the gift. For example, there were soccer balls in the gift catalog and I explained that some kids kick around a ball of trash and leaves because they don’t have any balls to kick when they play soccer.

After we looked through the whole thing I asked him what item he would like to buy for someone else.

He took the catalog from me, opened it to the first page and said “2 chicks”.

What happened next surprised me and brought me to tears.

“and a cow. and 3 pigs….” and on he went until I had to grab a paper to remember all he was saying he wanted to give.

And so his Christmas Giving List was created.

When I told him that all of this was a lot of money he suggested we sell his “baby” toys to get the money for all of the things he wanted to give. How sweet is that?

How do you help your children think of ways they can bless others?

Bag It Forward With Elmer’s

bag it forward new collage

For the 3rd year in a row I am proud to take part in the “Bag It Forward” campaign. I participated two years ago in the virtual campaign and last year donated a bag full of school supplies to a little girl whose family had lost their home. This year I chose to “Bag It Forward” to my nephew, Camden, who is headed to Kindergarten. I felt like it would really help my brother and his family by not having to stress about the cost and time of having to go get school supplies.

I headed to Walmart with the boys to pick up school supplies. I had the list of everything Camden needed and boy was it a long list! I don’t remember needing nearly as much of those things when I was younger. When we walked in the door we easily found the back to school section because it was in the front aisles.

I love that Walmart has a school supply list holder. It’s so convenient for parents to easily ensure they are buying the supplies that their kids actually need and not just what they think they need. I read the information about the 1st Day app and excitingly downloaded it. What a fun way to document the boys first day of school and easily help give back to others!

One thing my mom told me that Camden really wanted was a Transformers backpack and lunchbox. I found backpacks for only $10 and I thought this was a great find because I had just spent $19 on the backpacks I purchased for Jacob and Lucas at another store.

Jacob loved helping me find the supplies we needed.

Lucas also enjoyed helping mommy shop. He was very excited when I put these watercolors in the cart {I think he thought they were for him!}

After I had gotten most of the school supplies on Camden’s list we head to the toy aisle. Jacob always asks me, “mommy, I look with my eyes?” and circles his fingers into glasses. It’s so cute that I just can’t resist his request! On our way there we saw a great display with school supply kits in it.

Pre-made school supply kits! What a great idea. And for $20 with over $30 worth of coupons in it the price can’t be beat when it’s purchased to give to someone in need. I thought of the supplies on the list that I still needed because they were out of stock and added one of these bags to my cart.

After we looked at the toys we looked at the clearance shirts. I thought it would be nice to get a shirt for Camden to wear on his first day of school. We then picked up the rest of the things we needed and headed for the checkout lines. {You can see more pictures from my shopping trip in my Google+ story}

We headed right from Walmart to my mom’s house for our playdate with the boys’ cousins. Thankfully the kids napped on the way there. Once we got to my mom’s house we surprised Camden with all his school supplies.

My nephew was so excited to see that he got the backpack he was hoping to. I also think he won’t need any school supplies throughout the year because we even got him some backup supplies!

Afterwards, the children sat down to do a craft. I had brought my Elmer’s glue, craft sticks, superhero stickers, and letter stickers so the children could decorate picture frames.

Maddie, Camden, and Jacob enjoyed decorating their frames. Maddie and Camden went crazy with the stickers while Jacob kept it simple with just his name on it.

I love how Maddie’s turned out!

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Do you have someone in your life who could use help getting the school supplies they need? It’s as simple as heading to Walmart and picking up a prepackaged bag of supplies while you do your own back to school shopping. I also created a list on list.ly with my top 10 school supplies young kids need.

Another easy way to give back to others is by using the 1st Day app. It can be downloaded from the iTunes store,  Google Play and from the website www.the1stday.com. This application was especially created for parents to use on their children’s first day of school. It makes it easy to organize the pictures and share them with friends and loved ones. For every photo uploaded, Elmer’s will donate one product to The Kids in Need Foundation (up to 200,000 products). I love that giving back is as simple as uploading photos of my children on their first day of school which is something that I was going to do anyway.

See how others are bagging it forward on Pinterest.

Want to connect with Elmer’s?

Find them on Facebook and Twitter

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and and Elmer’s.  #BagItForward #CBias #SocialFabric )

On Giving {Quote}

giving

Source: The Silver Pen

{Find more quotes and inspiration on her site!}

Nashville Flooding: How Can We Help

Please see my post today at inexpensively.com on how we can help Nashville rebuild.

What Is “Giving Inexpensively”?

Today is my very first post over at Inexpensively. I hope you all will click over and read what my weekly column is going to be about and offer me a few suggestions on what you would like to see :)

Don’t forget to stop by tonight or tomorrow and check out where else I’m hanging out online today!  (Hint: I’ll be visiting with some wonderful ladies who after October will be some wonderful irl (in real life) friends…)

Cute Earrings For A Great Cause!

getbeautiful, give beautiful

So my lovely blogging friend, Sarah Mae, from Like A Warm Cup Of Coffee is doing something fabulous to help a friend’s business and a charity at the same time. Watch the video above to find out all about it and then visit Sarah Mae’s blog post that explains it more. Oh and did I mention there are lots of goodies to win and MONEY up for grabs? (Follow the #10for400 hashtag on twitter for more information.) And as if that weren’t enough visit Our Daily Chocolate for more fun!

(Disclosure: I’m writing this blog post because I love the idea and I love the blogger behind the idea BUT I also want to add that by writing a post about what they are doing I will be entered into a contest to win some cute things. :) Even if I wasn’t trying to win something I still would have been writing this but like to be completely honest with you all.)

Don’t Turn Away

Below is a guest post from Kristi Stephens about the upcoming series on her blog.

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I have an odd defense mechanism with things that make me uncomfortable – I go to sleep!

When on long car trips through the mountains with no exits in sight, or stuck in a traffic jam in a tunnel, and we start to run low on gas, I lean my seat back and sleep (when NP is driving, of course!) I figure that if we are going to run out of gas, it will happen whether I am awake and anxious or asleep and blissfully unaware – most likely we’ll be fine, so I might as well avoid the stress and sleep!

There are a lot of horrifying and evil things in this world that I would rather not think about. I find myself metaphorically sleeping in my seat to avoid anxiety.

Human trafficking is one of those issues I would rather not think about.

Chew on these stats – read them out loud if it will help them sink in.

  • 100,000 girls, ages 9-19, are trafficked in commercial sexual exploitation in the U.S.
  • 3,000 children are forced into commercial sexual exploitation at any given time, just in San Francisco.

  • 1.2 million children are trafficked internationally each year
  • As many as 4 million women and girls are bought and sold worldwide every year.

Horrifying.

I’m guessing most of us are like me – we’d rather close our eyes, stay blissfully unaware. We figure it’s going to happen whether we know about it or not, so we might as well ignore it.

It’s time to wake up, friends. There are things we can do.

The more I learn about human trafficking, the more it vividly illustrates for me my state as a former slave, redeemed from the bondage of sin. Christ paid the price with His own blood to redeem my life from the pit – the least I can do in return is to tell others about the freedom available through my Savior. And as a former slave, redeemed by a God who loves justice and mercy, I feel compelled to do all I can to secure freedom for the millions of physical slaves in this sin-marred world.

I humbly ask you to join me on this journey. For the next two weeks- the weeks before we commemorate the blood-price paid for our freedom – it is my honor to host Gillian Ferdwerda from Women at Risk, International here on KristiStephens.com. Gillian will be sharing amazing stories, horrifying statistics… and hope. Women at Risk, also known as WAR, is on the front lines – helping to find, rescue, love women and children who have been sold, abused, betrayed, forgotten. There are so many ways we can help.

So please be sure to read this amazing series. Visit Women at Risk, International’s website. Learn all you can about trafficking. Tell your friends. Post links on facebook, twitter, or your blog. Please help spread the word – wake us from our slumber.

If you are a blogger and would like to help, please grab this button for your blog – the more who hear, the better.

BWS tips button

Code: <a href=”http://www.krististephens.com/redeemed”><img src=”http://www.krististephens.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/WAR-page.jpg” alt=”BWS tips button” width=”150″ height=”125″></a>

Let’s proclaim freedom for the captives in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Random Acts of Kindness Week

acts of kindness

Did you know that this week is Random Acts of Kindness Week? Well I just found out today that it is! In my opinion every week should be and it’s sad that we have to have a special title for this week in order for people to be nice to each other but I am celebrating it anyways.

I wanted to create a list of some ideas that I have thought of and would love to hear other’s ideas as well :)

1. Hold the door open for people coming behind you.

2. In the drive thru? Pay for the car behind you.

3. Leave a dollar in a library book where a child may find it.

4. Keep gift cards to a local grocery store in your car to hand out to homeless on the side of the street.

5. Send flowers to a friend with an anonymous encouraging note.

6. Leave some cookies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.

7. Drop off some food at a local food pantry.

8. Make a dinner for a new mom or a family going through a hard time.

9. If you are sitting somewhere and there are a lack of seats offer your seat to someone else who may need to sit.

10. Standing in line at the store and have a large order? Let the person behind you with only a couple of items go first.

11. Think of someone who you come into contact with on a regular basis that doesn’t get thanked for their hard work and write them a letter of appreciation and thanks.

12. Give a genuine compliment to someone- whether it’s their smile, their shoes, or the way they treat others.

13. Welcome new neighbors by visiting them and introducing yourself.

14. Be kind to those working in retail, wait staff, and anyone else that works in a customer service job.

15. Write a note to someone you love (spouse, parent, child) and leave it somewhere they will find it.

16. If someone drops something pick it up for them.

17. Shovel a neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk after it snows.

18. Volunteer to help with a cause you feel passionate about.

19. Give away clothes that don’t fit and items you don’t use to others who could use them.

20. Give someone your umbrella if it’s raining and they do not have one.

Join in and link up your ideas!

Help for Haiti- How You Can Help For Free!

help_for_haiti

Watching the video clips and viewing pictures of the earthquake’s aftermath in Haiti brings me to tears. Seeing the stunned faces. The battered bodies. The frightened children. The people sleeping in the streets…. I knew there must be some way that I could help them from where I was, with the resources I had available. When Crystal Paine a.k.a. Money Saving Mom asked other bloggers to come together and join her in giving to Haiti I immediately jumped at the opportunity to help. She has asked each blogger participating to choose which organization we would like to donate to and write a blog post inviting others to link up to us with how they plan to contribute. To do this I need your help.

Here’s what I would like you, my readers and friends, to do… Think about what you have done to help Haiti (or are currently doing). If you are a blogger please blog about how you are supporting the people of Haiti and add your link to Mister Linky. If you do not have a blog you can leave a comment below.

For every blog post that is linked up by midnight on January 21, 2010 I will be donating $1 to Feed My Starving Children. One dollar may not seem like a lot to us but this charity will stretch that dollar and provide six meals to hungry children. $62 will feed one child for a year and $170 will put food in one thousand mouths.

For every comment that is added by midnight on the 21st I will be donating half an hour of my time to volunteering at the organization helping package the meals. Financially I can’t do as much as I would like to so I want to offer up my time. Part of the reason I chose this organization is because it is within an hour of where I live and they use volunteers to package the meals. As of now they are booked through March with people wanting to help so I will be volunteering in the Spring- and into the summer if you guys overload me with comment love! I plan to have a ticker so you can see my progress and the hours served.

Most importantly please remember the people of Haiti in your prayers. This is the most powerful thing you can do!

Won’t you join me? Please link up or comment below.