This is the last day to make our New Year’s resolutions. May as well forget the traditional weight-loss one, since we fail before February anyway. We could resolve to quit smoking or swearing, be more organized or thrifty…. Then, again, we could step out from our own little world into the larger one. We can make this the year to help protect and nurture a child. Yes, we can send money to support a child on another continent, but why not make it more personal? One way is to volunteer at a local hospital as a person who cuddles at-risk infants, giving them the warm contact that will save their lives. Another is to become a Foster Grandparent, Big Brother/Sister, or Child Advocate. Also, we must do something when we see that timid first-grader being bullied by other kids. Closer to home, we can spend more time with our own children or grandchildren, playing games, taking walks, and providing times for talk to happen. Focusing on children is a resolution that makes a brighter year for everybody.
Happy New Year. May 2015 be a year of peace in the world and in your lives!
Today I thought I’d share my Christmas glow with you. My husband and I spent five days in a little place called Nuevo, CA. There’s nothing there to speak of–maybe half a dozen family-owned businesses and an occasional tumble weed-blocked road. The lack of McDonalds, Walmart, and traffic was refreshing, and the view of the rugged-rock mountains from the desert floor was spectacular.
Our hosts, Trino and Maria–our son’s future in-laws–recently moved onto five acres of quiet beauty. Slowly they’re turning the land into a ranch, planning to build a barn for their three horses and add chickens and ducks and they’re-not-sure-what-else. Their home is a barn-shaped house filled with warmth and love.
Christmas Eve and Day the house and yard were overflowing with family of all ages. Food was plentiful and constant, all homemade, from traditional tamales to the Navajo daughter-in-law’s Navajo fry bread. (I’ve decided that Mexican moms and Jewish moms have one big thing in common: their unending cry of “Eat, eat, eat!”)
Gifts were thoughtful. For example, one of their sons who is a Marine (four active-duty tours in recent years) exchanged stories with my ex-submarine-sailor (two tours, including Nam) husband, then gifted him with the ribbons my husband had earned but lost over the years, plus a Navy watch. The talented fry-bread cook gave me–someone she’d never met–a stunning necklace, crafted in the Navajo style, which took her two days to make.
Needless to say, the two sets of people bonded into one family. Our son had already been totally accepted long before; now we’re part of a larger family, too. This was a most excellent Christmas gift for me. I hope yours was just as joyful.
It’s family time! My husband and I are flying to Southern California this afternoon to meet our son’s girlfriend of 3+ years and spend Christmas with them. (She’s pretty brave, letting the two moms get together and possibly plot strategy toward a wedding.) That means that I won’t be posting again until Monday, Dec. 29.
Meanwhile, I want to wish my Christian readers a very blessed Christmas; and, for all of you who celebrate it not as a religious day but as family time, a very merry holiday.
(If you’re bored and have nothing else to do over the next 5 days, you can always browse through my old blogs. Nawwwww…..)
We’ve heard about the methane-pollution that cows cause when they, well, let gas, to be polite about it. We even joke about it. It is a real environmental problem, but not nearly as big a one as the methane that oil and gas companies spew into the atmosphere during production of their products.
Watch this 1:16 minute video for a quick overview of what’s happening:
Love soccer and are good enough at it to play in the World Cup? Go for it, but, if you’re a woman, don’t expect to be paid the bigger bucks the men get. Comparing women’s tournaments with men’s is “not worth debating” and “nonsense,” according to FIFA’s Secretary General Jerome Valcke. He doesn’t anticipate any pay equality in the near future, nor does he see a reason for it, even though women’s soccer is becoming more and more popular.
This is yet another area in which gender discrimination rears its ugly head when the same job is being performed by women as it is by men.
Why kill children? I know the Taliban wanted revenge and they believe they’re fighting a holy war. What god might they be following who would approve of going room-to-room in a school to kill children of senior military officials and any other students who got in the way? Certainly not the peace-loving Allah! What did the youngsters, aged 6-18, do “wrong,” except be born into military families? If the bombers and gunmen made their “point,” why continue to endanger others by taking hostages and planting explosives around the perimeter of the school? Yes, those IEDs did prevent outside help from Pakistani police and soldiers from coming to the rescue of the children; but how many more people will stumble on them and be killed? That must be their plan.
What kind of people are these killers of more than a hundred innocents? And how do we revoke their membership in the human race?
You may be tempted to give in to charitable appeals between now and Dec. 31, the deadline to claim them on your 2014 taxes. But be sure those donations do some real good for real people rather than enriching scam artists or CEOs. Clark Howard offers some tips:
Don’t give cash. Legitimate charities will take a check.
Don’t give out your credit card, bank account or personal information to telemarketers. If you want to donate, initiate the call yourself.
Don’t fall for Internet appeals if the cause does not look legitimate and doesn’t check out. Make sure to do your research!
Expect specific information. Ask what kind of relief this organization is going to provide. Don’t accept vague explanations.
Check out the charity with national, state, and local authorities. Established charities register with the Internal Revenue Service. You can search for specific non-profit organizations on the IRS website: irs.gov.
Beware of newly formed organizations. If the charity is new, you may have to rely on your relationship with the company or sponsor of the organization to determine whether you trust the group.
Report abuses to the nearest Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General’s office. Both are listed in local telephone directories. You can also report abuses to the National Fraud Information Center at (800) 876-7060. NFIC also has a web-based complaint form at www.fraud.org.
And here’s one of my own: Check to see how much of your donation will go to charitable work as compared to administrative costs (including CEOs) and fundraising costs. Look them up at www.CharityNavigator.org or the Better Business Bureau site www.BBB.give.org.