Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Helping Out My Girl!

So there's this chick I know...and she's so totally awesome!  Heidi is this great friend that lives less than 15 minutes away and I rarely get to see because our schedules NEVER intertwine!  We met what seems like ages ago when we were planning our weddings and I have to say that I just feel so blessed to have such a positive, strong woman who has such good influence on my life. 

Despite the own craziness that is taking place in her and her husband's life right now, she is still finding time to do the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte, NC.  A 39.3 mile walk!  (And I thought a half marathon was a lot!!!)  I'm so inspired by her because this is the second time she's taking on this challenge and I can't imagine how she's finding time to train, fundraise, and still take care of everything else around her. 

If you can help her reach her goal of $1800 it would be greatly appreciated!  Any small amount is a BIG help:o)  Here is the link to her site:

Heidi & Tolis - we LOVE you both & are just so happy to call you friends!  We will do whatever we can to help support you guys in ALL your efforts <3 (And once Miss Maggie decides to arrive, I might be joining you for a few walks to get myself prepped for the next half marathon!!!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When Cows Fly!

I was so pleased today to receive an email that said my submitted story was being shared online.  Heifer International has a site, "When Cows Fly" where individuals can share their stories about how they're making a difference.  I submitted my story just the other day and was informed that they published it.

"Blogger Holding Fundraiser for Heifer International" reads the tab and then the link brings you directly to my story.  So awesome.  Hopefully this will help generate some funds for the project.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Patience....little vs. big things

Despite it being the Sunday School virtue of the month, PATIENCE seems to be the one thing I'm lacking lately.  I guess I need to join the kiddies for Sunday School and skip regular service, eh?  From my cell phone, to a 3 year old's ridiculous arguments/requests, to students, etc.  I have no patience.  Granted, being 34 weeks pregnant (AND learning to go w/o coffee) doesn't help AND that doesn't mean my irritation isn't justified, but regardless I've been having to ask for help with having patience.

All these little things add up and become irritable, but they remind me of a bigger thing, too.  They remind me of the type of person I am.  Instant gratification.  Wanting something done RIGHT NOW and having to wait for things to come to fruition.  And it's definitely something I've been working on and gotten much better at dealing with in larger circumstances.

I think I've mentioned before that I am the type of girl who puts a lot on her plate.  One of the most frustrating feelings in life is to know that you were meant for something MORE, but have no idea what that MORE you try to do as much as possible to feel accomplished in something.  Now, I have done a lot and I recognize where I've done some good.  I've worked in daycares/preschools, been a nanny to several wonderful children, worked in several classroom settings, done small scale projects to benefit others, etc.  And big or small, I know the differences I've made and those in themselves are blessings.  THIS is where I've learned patience.  Not necessarily with the crazy kids and the bad days and where just making it through an afternoon requires every thread of my being to hold onto my sanity....PATIENCE in having that one day or one student or one afternoon where I realized that I made a difference.  Realizing that maybe not everyday I am going to feel great, but waiting for that moment to arrive and letting it just happen.  Not forcing it, not trying to be the difference maker, just doing whatever it is that I do that might change an attitude or uplift a person or make someone laugh or smile.  Maybe it's that extra 5 minutes to color or paint with my kid.  Maybe it's sending an e-mail to a parent who needs to know they're kid had a good day and then WAITING for that awesome response. 

The other day I heard a radio discussion about how helping others actually benefits the person who does the helping MORE than the person they're helping.  It just makes you feel that awesome that you've helped in some way, that you emotionally feel uplifted and it benefits the rest of your life.  It's so true.

It doesn't bug me that not every person in the world reads my blog.  I feel awesome when I see that one person read it because it means that someone else might have the same attitude or being inspired to help someone in need.

It won't bug me if I don't reach my goal for $250 by Aug 19 because ONE donation practically made me leap for joy because someone else was inspired to help through me.

I once did a neighborhood food drive and could not believe the outpouring of community involvement and thought, "Wow, this is just cool." 

The things don't have to be big.  Nor do they have to be what the world deems "successful."  Success, in this one aspect of my life, is just that one other person somewhere in the world is inspired to help another human being.  And it's already happened.  And I truly believe it will continue to happen. 

Waiting for all these little blessings to take place is SO worth it and I have all the patience in the world to see what God has planned for me.  I know that I'm meant for more.  And if I have the chance to make more awesome things happen, then I will give it a try and have patience to see if it works out.  And if it doesn't, then I will try something else.  But I know I'll be doing awesome work.

So...if I have all the patience in the world to watch big ideas come to fruition....why is pajama time with a 3 year old so frustrating?!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Only $190 to go!

In other awesome news the R.I.C.H.'s Helpers Team received a $60 donation yesterday, so we're well on the way to $250 by August 19th.  YAY!

Receive Answers!

In an earlier blog post, "Ask Questions" I discussed how I was inquiring with Heifer International about local offices and why there had been, but not one currently in the Triangle area.  I e-mailed the woman in charge of the East Coast area, Patty Reed.  She responded in such a timely manner and answered just about every question!  She recently had been in NC and was sorry we hadn't gotten a chance to connect sooner, otherwise who knows what sort of blog posts I'd be writing today!  She explained that Heifer had to close some local offices in the past few years due to financial reasons, but was very open for me to contact her if I ever wanted to know more about the US Project - Seeds for Change or if I just had general inquiries.  She's also provided me with another contact person who is more local and who directs volunteer opportunities if I ever feel like I have more time to dedicate to the cause.  Very cool stuff!

But it gets better...

This evening I received an email from Linda Meyers.  She's a part of the Heifer organization and she had seen my blog post, "Ask Questions!"  She read it!  And she even tried to leave a comment!  (but she didn't have an appropriate account to respond, so instead she sent an e-mail)  After reading my post she went out of her way to contact the Senior Director of Branding & Communications to gets answers to all those questions I had asked and then made sure the message got passed along to me somehow.

This truly just tells you what an awesome organization they are - they take the time to read the blogs of those interested in supporting their cause and they go out of their way to find answers to their questions.  Linda could have read my post and just assumed that I would have to wait on a response from Ms. Reed.  Instead, she made sure I got those answers by contacting people on her own time and getting the message to me personally.  Below is the e-mail...just so that YOU can read first hand about what's going on with the nationwide effort of Heifer and maybe find a way that you can help.

We saw your blog post “Ask Questions!” and wanted to send you a response. I tried to post it on your blog as a comment, but couldn’t because we don’t have an appropriate user account to do so. So, here is the response from Joedy Isert, Senior Director of Branding & Communications.

Dear Nancy,
First, we at Heifer International want to thank you for all your support, in your blog and in your gifts, for our work. Nothing we do would be possible without help such as yours, and the fact that you take it and make it so personal through your blog is an even more special gift.
In answer to some of the questions you raised in your post, “Ask Questions!” Heifer International had regional offices in five areas in the United States, including the Chicago area, Southern California, Massachusetts and other regions. In 2009, responding to the economic downturn and decisions to commit additional resources to programs and reduce operational expenses, regional officers were closed. Heifer retained staff in many of the areas, working out of their homes or storefronts as Community Engagement Coordinators, but we stopped spending on brick and mortar offices.
And while Heifer has worked in the United States for most of our nearly 70-year existence, the work in the United States has been on a much smaller footprint than our work in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. We have worked with American Indian reservations in the Southwest, with high-poverty areas in the central Appalachians and in some hard-hit inner-city communities with urban gardening, but there has never been a true nationwide U.S.-based program.
Another challenge is the scope of need and our very limited resources. While we are very proud of the 94.5 million people we have been able to help since 1944, that pales compared to the fact that nearly 1 billion people are chronically hungry around the world. And while we are very generously supported, raising about $100 million annually, to tackle the problems here in the United States and around the world would cost tens of billions of dollars, according to the World Bank. We simply don’t have access to those resources, so we try to work in areas where we can leverage and best use the limited resources we have.
Thus the reason behind our work in the United States high poverty areas in Appalachian North Carolina and in the Arkansas Delta. These are areas with rich soil, but with little economic hope or opportunity. By working with small-landowner farmers and other agricultural interests in these areas, it is our goal to help them produce more and better crops to feed themselves and eventually, to connect to the value chain so they are selling their crops to help provide good, affordable food to hospitals, schools, distributors, groceries and others.
This will create jobs, help give people greater access to better foods, build community networks and as they become independent and successful, we can move to help in other areas such as Raleigh or the Mississippi Delta or the many other areas of high need in this country.
Our mission is to end hunger and poverty and protect the planet, and we wish we were in a position, as do many other similar organizations, to make that happen sooner rather than later. But we have to work to our resources and to our abilities. Every decision on where we work is difficult as we would love to be in every city, state and country where people need help feeding themselves or their families and where agriculture could continue to be a strong contributor to the community.
I hope we have been able to answer some of your questions, and we deeply appreciate your help and support. Thanks again and please keep asking the good questions.

Joedy Isert
Senior Director, Brand & Communications
Heifer International

          Linda Meyers
          Communications Temp

          1 World Avenue, Little Rock | AR 72202 | United States

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ask Questions!

I think it's important to ask questions.  Granted, when my 3 year old is in a chatty mood and decides she wants to know everything about everything - then maybe I get a little overwhelmed.  For the most part though, I love the questions WHY and WHY NOT.

While looking into starting the Heifer project I thought to myself, "This program could do wonders in this area."  Raleigh might be a large city and you don't always think of farming as a sustainable source of income, but there are tons of rural areas less than a 10 minute drive from Raleigh (or even IN Raleigh) that rely on farming.  Our demand for local produce is very high - just look at the crowded farmer's markets and how much fresh produce is in demand in the grocery stores and with home-delivery sales.  There are plenty of areas nearby that would make excellent partnerships with Heifer International.  Not to mention, in this areas there are probably a lot of low-income families that could benefit from the help of Heifer and local farmers to practice the model Heifer offers.

So, I asked myself, "Is there a local office?"  No.  There's used to be, apparently, according to Google.  But not now.  There is a US project taking place in the mountain of NC called "Seeds for Change," but it's not helping out our local families.  So, "Why not?"

I emailed the district person of the East Coast Philanthropy office, Ms. Reed, with these questions.  I wanted to know the circumstances of the previous office closing.  I related my feelings that a local office would be beneficial for all the reasons stated above.  And I expressed interest in helping such an office, if the opportunity ever presented itself.

I hope she'll write back.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

$250 by August 19

So August 19 is World Humanitarian Day.  Therefore, I've made it a goal & set up a page to raise $250 for Heifer International.  A small donation in the long run, but IF it's successful and I feel like I have the support of my family, friends and community then perhaps I can move forward with bigger and better things come the holidays!

Check out the team webpage!

You can donate (on the right minimum amount required) or you can register with the website and search to JOIN my team!

I also made a flyer that I'll probably put out in my neighborhood soon.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cheep cheep go the baby chicks!

I went ahead and made my first donation to Heifer International.  I gave the gift of a flock of chicks for $20.  Yay!

I think I might undertake a small project for the summer & see if I can get a "team" of people to give the gift of a large animal.  Would YOU help?

If so...please take a look at the poll on the blog and let me know what you'd be willing to donate!

PLEASE go to to read a quick summary on each gift to see how they would benefit a family.  It will also allow you to see how many shares each full gift will take to donate (ie: One sheep will take 12 shares of $10 each).  If you look at other gifts (ie: honeybees, tree, boost of nutrition package, etc.) and believe you'd rather donate to one of those gifts, please select "Other" and leave me a comment as to your preference and why.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

So many little $!

I could never be rich because I'd end up living frugally and giving all my money away!  I finished "Half the Sky" and it's had a profound impact on my way of thinking.  There isn't a day that it doesn't cross my mind about how my life is a treasure box and I need to use my time, effort, brains, and the little money I do have to help others. 

The book does an excellent job of summarizing some simple ways to help and this is where I'm starting to figure out my next project(s).  Here are some quick basic ideas - if you ever get a chance to get your hands on the book the information is in the back, by the appendix (my book is p.252).

These are some organizations that directly link you to the people who need the money.  I've already discussed Givology and I'm still considering that option.  However, there's also and

"Global Giving lets you choose a grassroots project to which to give money in education, health, disaster relief, or more than a donzen other areas around the developing world."

"Kiva lets you do the same for microlending to entrepreneurs."

An entire section of the book was dedicated to microlending - being the financier of small loans (as little as $25) to help individuals expand their trade or business to become independent.  This has proven very helpful to empower women in gaining their independence from abusive husbands, keeping them from prostitution, feeding their families, and providing income for their education and the education of their children.  Not that these sites are solely dedicated to women, but you can search through the individuals and their business propositions to pick and choose who you want to support.

Another way to help is (a personal fave that I'm really thinking of going with now) Heifer International.  I know some of you have gotten that catalog around Thanksgiving/Christmas time about donating money or a "gift" of an animal to a family in need.  I really believe this sort of hands on approach to help is beneficial.  I've heard stories from those who have given and seen the benefits from this organization.  Also, just the concept has proven true (even if not applied through this affiliation).  Just yesterday my best friend (she's always in some way related to my better ideas) was telling me how she'll be incubating some chicken eggs and hatching baby chicks.  And when those are done she'll receive some chickens that'll lay eggs - which she'll be able to use for food or extra income.  Granted, she's doing all this through family and not an organization and it's just a small project she's chosen to do for herself, but imagine the possibilities for families who have nothing and NEED this type of help.  Providing $10 could mean the share of a large animal....get 10 people together and you've got $100 for the whole animal.  Or just $20 from one person is a flock of chicks (that's just $2/person is you've got 10 people to help out!).  I'll put aside my Dunkin Donuts coffee for a day if 10 other people can do it and together we just donated baby chicks.  Cheap, awesome, rewarding.  Oh yea!