Lessons Learned Helping A Charity

The past two days I was  part of a radio-a-thon to raise money for a charity that helps sick children and their families.  It was a rewarding experience that taught me a lot.

First, no matter how bad you think you have it someone has it worse.  The stories I heard about heartache, pain, and difficult decisions were the unfortunate proof.  I wouldn’t want to trade my troubles (real or imagined) for anyone else’s.  They’re mine so I must be the best equipped to deal with them.

The second thing that I realized is that people really can be generous if it’s a cause they can understand and believe in.

We were raising money for 2 things.  To have teddy bears to give to to every sick child entering the hospital.  That’s easy to understand.  A sick kid is going to a scary place for treatments and tests that aren’t fun.  Giving them a teddy bear is a great and caring idea.  It’s something soft and warm they can hold on to.  We heard stories from medical professionals that said in some cases giving a hysterical child a teddy bear works better at calming them down than medicine.  Makes sense to me.

The other thing the money is used for is to fill a compassion fund.  This fund isn’t overseen by a super huge committee.  There aren’t layers of bureaucracy.  It’s accessible to doctors, nurses, and social workers who can use the funds to show compassion to the families of those in the hospital that are in need.  Maybe it’s for a tank of gas because funds are tight, a meal for the parents, or lodging when a child has to go to a hospital that’s farther away.

The stat we heard was having a child in the hospital increases your household expenses by 30 percent.  That much additional expense coupled with the potential loss of one of the parent’s jobs because they’re staying with the child in the hospital and you can see how it could throw the family budget into a tailspin.  It’s because of this that this compassion fund exists.

Helping out by contributing to a fund like this is easy to understand. It’s local.  It’s what we would do for a neighbor.  That’s why I think this fund has been successful and continues to grow.  We need more things like this.  Where we don’t depend on the government but instead on each other. No red tape.  No regulations.  No political affiliations.  Just people helping people.

I’m proud to say we beat last year’s total and raised over $105,000.  At times it was mentally draining but definitely rewarding.  It made me realize how small my problems are and that my daughters needed big hugs when I got home.

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Is Cursive Writing Dead?


Until a few weeks ago I hadn’t really given cursive writing much thought.  Don’t really have much of a need for it.  The closest I come to writing in cursive is using a tablet pen on my Nexus 7 to swipe through the keys in the Swiftkey keyboard.

I have been thinking about it more since my youngest proudly displayed a line of cursive e’s and i’s on a paper she had just pulled out of her back pack.  They had started to learn cursive and she was excited to share.

Many would say cursive writing is going the way of the dinosaur.  A quick Google search will show you numerous articles and news accounts where educators and legislators are debating it’s validity.  Given all the computers, keyboards, and tablet type devices one really could make a case for phasing it out of the schools.

There is one reason in my mind to keep teaching it.  That would be your signature.  Block printing your name on a business deal or important document just wouldn’t look as professional.  Although, admittedly in some cases it would probably be more legible.

I say keep teaching it.  Besides, what else would you teach in it’s place?  Keep teaching it but also teach strong keyboarding skills because let’s face it cursive writing may become extinct but I don’t see keyboards disappearing anytime soon.

What does my daughter who is learning it think?  “Yeah, they should keep teaching cursive because it’s fun!”  There you go.  That’s a good enough reason for me.

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Elephant Oranges

It’s that time of year when citrus fruits are plentiful and a good price.  A favorite in our house are clementine oranges.  Maybe you’ve seen them in the store under the brand names Cuties or Halos.  One reason my kids like them so much is the unique way I peel them.


I’m not really sure how it started but one time I peeled one trying to keep the peel in a single piece.  That way I’d have less of a mess to pick up.  What resulted was a peel that looked like an elephant.  My kids loved it so I thought I’d teach you how to do it so you can share it with yours.

First, start to peel yours as shown in the following picture.


Continue to peel straight down.


Now it’s time to carefully unpeel the “ears”.  Start at one side and carefully slide a finger between the peel and fruit.  Continue to do this as you work your way to the middle.  Then repeat on the other side.


If you have done it correctly you should see your elephant take shape.


All that’s left to do is to finish taking it off the orange.


And that’s how you make an elephant orange.  If you’ve done this in front of your kids you should complete the process by holding it up to your face and doing your best elephant noise.  Trust me, if you have young kids it will make them giggle.  The only downside (if you could call it that), you’ll never be able to peel a clementine orange any other way.

Now that my kids are older they’ve learned to peel their own elephant oranges.  It makes me smile knowing that one day they’ll share this with their kids.  This is proof that it doesn’t take a lot of money to make lasting memories.  Just a little time and love.

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