I love getting feedback from people who are actually taking time to read what I write!  I recently learned that, on occasion, I’m part of the morning coffee ritual.  As a lover of the brown bean, I am especially gratified to be included with such a vital part of the day’s beginning.  Sort of like “would you like a donut or a piece of toast with your coffee?”  “No thank you.  I’ll just have a piece of blog!”  Is that cool, or what?? 

My daughter and I have really gotten into the idea of giving to others, for the holiday season and beyond.  I have to admit, she is my inspiration as, no matter how much or little she has, she will take something out of her paycheck to buy food, a Christmas gift or something for animals.  I am so proud of her for setting me such a remarkable example of generosity.  Because of her, I have chosen a couple of areas which need help and am making them part of my regular routine. 

I recently learned that charitable organizations can set up wish lists on Amazon, and people can go to those wish lists, purchase an item and it will be shipped directly to the charity!  How cool is that?  Then, instead of sending random things, or money, you can send them something they need, and even take advantage of sales to send them more! 

I know I ranted recently about how everyone wants but then they seem to just take the contributions for granted.  I have to retract that.  They appreciate the help, it’s just that in our current economy, everyone needs so much, everything keeps costing more and there is massive competition for every charitable dollar out there.  I really commend some of the high profile sports and entertainment figures who are doing something to give back.  Most of us don’t have the means to give back in the quantities they do, but I’m sure that all of the rescue groups, advocates for the homeless and every other organization which exists to make things better for others is happy for every dollar that comes their way. 

I will admit, I am not the one who will be sending money to feed someone in a third world country.  It’s not that I think they are undeserving, but we have so many people and animals who need help right here, and frankly, our government sends all sorts of aid across the pond.  My choice is to help those in need who are much closer to home.  In fact, I typically confine my efforts to people in my own city or state.  But that’s just me.  We all have some cause we care about.  I think a rescue organization I support says it best.  (and I’ll paraphrase here).  If you can, volunteer, if you can’t volunteer, foster, if you can’t foster, contribute, if you can’t contribute, share so others are aware of what we need to continue our efforts.  There’s always something we can do and it often requires little investment in time or money.  If we all care just a little, we’ll find a way to do something, even if it’s just a little.  And all of those “just a littles” add up into a lot!  I have the utmost respect for the people who devote their lives to keeping organizations that help others going.  I know that in some cases, it’s almost a 24/7 job with no vacations or sick days.  Not all of us are cut out to be that giving, but we are all cut out to be giving to some degree. 

I would like people to continue to believe that December 21, 2012 will bring about apocalyptic changes, but rather than mass destruction, I would like to wake up on December 22, 2012 to find that the world mindset has shifted to caring for our sick and injured, sharing of ourselves, loving each other, knowing that we are all connected and responsible for this lovely planet we call home. 

As I sit here writing, surrounded by my cats and feeling very blessed, I am once more, amused by the antics of my little furry kids.  I have a fuzzy foot massager my daughter bought for me a few years ago sitting on the shelf under my window.  Toby likes to walk around up there, and every so often, I will hear a whirring sound as he sets the thing off to massage his poor, tired feet.  I would think that the noise and vibration would scare him but as he thinks he’s human anyway, I suppose he enjoys the human comforts.   When I’m finished writing, he’ll be the first to crawl up into my lap for some snuggle time. 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for opportunities to give something back.
2. I am grateful for humor which softens even the worst of times.
3. I am grateful for my daughter who reminds me to be charitable and considerate of others.
4. I am grateful that there are so many people who care and share and love each other.
5. I am grateful for the time for reflection and friends who bring out the best in me by reminding me to take that time.

Love and light.

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