Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day is a GREAT day to do some good.

Memorial Day, as you know, is a day to remember those who have fallen while serving and protecting our country, as well as remembering our ancestors who went before us.

{It used to be known as Decoration Day -- interesting tidbit I did not know.}

Some ways to observe Memorial Day are:
  • Visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of fallen heroes.
  • Visiting memorials
  • Flying the U.S. flag at half-staff until noon.
  • Participate in the "National Moment of Rememberance by observing a moment of silence at 3 p.m. (local time.)

You can also watch or listen to the National Memorial Day Concert that airs on NPR and PBS.

You could also combine the holiday with the weekly challenge and say "Thank you" to those who continue to serve our country. Some suggestions for this very thing are below!

*You can go here and send an e-card very quickly that will be sent to our troops. "Let's Say Thanks" is a free service provided by XEROX. It is quick and simple. First you scroll through the designs (I believe all of the designs were created/drawn by children.) Then you personalize it with a message, your name, and hometown. Then you hit "send." Really simple. Really good.

*Or, you can contribute to USO Operation Phone Home. Information from their site:
USO Operation Phone Home delivers prepaid international phone cards to deployed service members free of charge. As one of the most requested items from deployed service members, the prepaid international phone cards continue to be a hit with service men and women. The phone cards are distributed through USO centers both overseas and in the U.S., where they are handed out to service members passing through, or are delivered directly to military units. Since the program began, more than 2.2 million phone cards have been distributed.

The USO currently pays $15.00 for each 300-unit phone card that we distribute to our service men and women. Through our ongoing partnership with AT&T, the USO benefits from discounted rates for these very popular cards. 100 percent of the money raised for the USO Operation Phone Home program goes to the purchase of phone cards.

I imagine a call home is just what some of these soldiers need.

There are a few ways to donate:
Online choose the "donate to a specific program" option.

By Phone: 1-800-876-7469

By Mail:
(with O.P.H. written in the memo)
USO Headquarters
PO Box 96860
Washington, DC 20090-6860


*You can join Soldiers' Angels, The Chrylser Group LLC, and Zac Brown Band and participate in their Letters for Lyrics campaign. (Come on people, I'm droppin' names here -- real names, famous names! This is good stuff!)

Basically, here's how it works:
Their goal is to deliver 1,000,000 (that's one million -- in case you aren't used to seeing that many zeros), letters to servicemen and women around the world.

Go to any Dodge or Ram Truck dealer and write a card.

In exchange you will receive a FREE CD (once again, I repeat, FREE CD) with three new songs from the Zac Brown Band and others from various artists also with the Southern Ground Label. {After hearing this I'm sure the hubs is thinking "You had me at CD. You had me at CD!"}

If you're interested in reading a little bit more about this, you can go to Chrysler's blog, here, or to Soldiers' Angels, or to Zac Brown Band's site.
This is a great campaign and you get something FREE from someone famous!
{By the way, I forgot to mention, there is also a brand new video you can watch for free.}

Actually, it's really great because it is an excellent way to spread some good to some of those that sacrifice the most for our freedom!

A huge thank you to all those who have served and continue to do so. I love and appreciate all that you do. (To my big bro -- thanks! You are awesome! I'm so proud of you! To my friend from high school who serves -- thank you! You too are awesome!) To everyone else that serves -- I sincerely thank you!

I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend and take the time to do at least one of the things above. It is a really good way to give back and a very fine way to spend your time this weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Here we go....

We've hit the ground running.

Just a few more basic items of business and we'll keep going. I've got some great things coming in the next few days so stay tuned!!!!

Thanks for all of your interest so far!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How do you know if the charity you want to give to is legitimate?

Good question.

OR, do you find a charity that will maximize your donation?

I hope the following information will help. (It will perhaps be slightly boring, but hopefully useful.)

Sometimes these big non-profit organizations can be intimidating. They sound like they accomplish such great tasks, organize large projects, and provide great relief.

But did you know they also make money? Of course they do. That is how they provide the help they are giving.

However, not all non-profits are created equal. So, how do you know how good your charity is at giving? Here are a few tips.

On the left side of my blog you'll notice a few links under SITES THAT EVALUATE AND REVIEW CHARITIES. These independent companies evaluate, rate, and publish just that -- how these organizations and agencies are using their money.

A little bit about them from their website:

The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) is a nationally prominent charity watchdog service whose purpose is to help donors make informed giving decisions.
This web site will provide you with information about our organization, the charities we rate, and our method of grading charities. Special features will focus on top salaries, top-rated groups, and hot topics in America's most popular causes such as:Abortion, Animal Protection, Cancer, Child Sponsorship, Environment, Human Rights, International Relief, Senior Citizens, and more.

The next is the Better Business Bureau. (I know! I had no idea either that they handled charities!) If they are an accredited charity, the BBB logo will appear on the charity's site. Their logo will look something like this below:
{Or perhaps - exactly like this.)

The next is Charity Navigator.
From their site:

Charity Navigator, America's premier independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of over 5,500 of America's largest charities.

They use a rating system of stars (similar to restaurant or movie ratings) and they have a comprehensive financial analysis of each charity. (As with the other evaluating companies I have already mentioned, you can see exactly how much a charity is paying their top leaders, i.e. the CEO, as well as how much they spend overall on administrative expenses, fundraising expenses, and how much they spend on their program itself.) It is a very interesting report to look at. It tells you a lot about a charity. Their logo looks like this:

The last one is GuideStar
From their site:
If you care about nonprofits and the work they do, then you're affected by what GuideStar does—even if this is your first visit to You see, we gather and publicize information about nonprofit organizations. Our reach is far and wide. Our database is broad and deep.

We encourage nonprofits to share information about their organizations openly and completely. Any nonprofit in our database can update its report with information about its mission, programs, leaders, goals, accomplishments, and needs—for free. We combine the information that nonprofits supply with data from several other sources.

I haven't come across any "accredited" sites with a GuideStar logo, so there may not be one, but at least you now know who they are and what they do in case you want to look them up.

So, if you are interested in donating to a charity, check out one or more of these links to find out a little bit more about how they are using their money, and use them as possible resources for finding charities. Several of them have lists of top charities that they like (as well as top charities that don't receive good reviews.)

I hope this will help you in your giving.

Do you want a new Subaru?

This is for locals only -- sorry guys.

Sorry if this sounded like a mean trick. This, unfortunately, is not a giveaway, but Mark Miller Subaru at South Towne IS giving away some money to your favorite local charity if you purchase a new or used vehicle!

Their "DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD" event only goes until May 31st (sorry for the late notice), so if you were planning on getting a new car anyway, maybe you should hurry and do it now.

For every car purchased during the month of May, they will give $100 to one of eight small, non-profit local agencies.
If you mention "DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD" they will also give you special pricing.

So hurry people!!!!!!! You only have a few days left.

Go here for more info

**If you can't meet this deadline though, consider shopping here in the future. It is always good to show our support of businesses that try to give back to the community. Way to go Mark Miller Subaru South Towne!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Navigating around....

I thought I'd take a second and show you around.

On the upper left will be a small challenge.
(It will probably be a weekly challenge, but I'm not making any guarantees here people.) :)
It will be small and simple things we can each do on a daily basis -- acts of kindness, general courtesies,...just simple things.

On the right, below my profile, you'll see my button!!
{Thanks to Heidi for helping me design it and Woot!Woot! to the hubs for doing the coding for me! Thank you Your Nerdiness!}.
Go ahead. Grab it. You know you want to.
Don't know how to grab a button, or what it is? hmmmm....I shall explain.
(This is mostly for one of my sisters -- I won't say who.)

Skip this if you are already well acquainted with the button world.
{A button is a link, usually with some type of graphic, that allows bloggers to easily link to other blogs. So, the point of it, is to put it on your blog and then, people that read your blog will say "Oh my? Whatever is that for?" They will then roll their cursor over it and realize they can click on it. When they do ...TA DA! They will find their way here to my blog. It is an easy way of spreading the word so to speak. So, on to the technical side of things.....}

How to Grab a Button
To "Grab a Button" you will see a white box right below the graphic, with some coding - all of the mumbo jumbo.
1) Select all of the coding inside the box (by putting your cursor in the box and right clicking, then click "select all").
2)Then copy it by right clicking and select "Copy."
3) Next go to your blog and click on "Customize" and choose "Add a Gadget"
4) A box will pop up and scroll down until you see "HTML/Java Script" Click on that.
5) Another box will appear that says at the top "Configure HTML/Java Script." You will see a place for a "Title" -- choose whatever you like, and then there will be a large white box underneath the word "Content." Put your cursor in that white box and paste into the box, the code you copied. (Do this by either hitting "CTRL" and "V" at the same time or by right clicking and choosing "Paste.")
6) Now hit "SAVE"

The button should appear on your blog in the place where you added your new gadget.
I hope that helped.

Back to the tour....
After all of the button grabbing, you will see a few more buttons.
The first is for the World Food Programme. If you click on it, it will take you to their "Free Rice" page and you will be given simple trivia questions. The more you play and click, the more free rice gets donated from their sponsors. It's simple. It's quick. It's fun. Please click often. It is an easy way to contribute to the world hunger situation.

Below that, is a button for The Hunger Site. It will take you to their page where you just have to click on an orange button for free food to be contributed to their cause from their sponsors. Their site also has a store that you can purchase items from, as well as related sites sponsoring Breast Cancer, Child Health Issues, Literacy, Rainforest, and Animal Rescue issues. So, click away.

Finally, is a button for Do One Nice Thing -- from the book that inspired me. Her site has weekly ideas of simple things you can do.

Now, all the way back up to the top you will see page buttons. Each page is dedicated to help spread the word about a way to do some good for that particular cause. When you click on it you will see a list of links for organizations that champion that particular cause. They include: animals, children, curing different diseases and health problems, the environment or earth, the international community or globe, hunger, education and literacy, ways to be linked to volunteer opportunities, and anything else that doesn't fit into one of those categories is under "for goodness sake."

There is also a page to contact me in case you know of a cause that you would like me to add, a resource you would like to share, an idea for doing some good, an inspiring story of something you've done or someone else has done, a question you have, a project you need help with, if you need ideas from me.....anything really.

The rest is just normal business as usual.

Take a few minutes and look around. I'm sure I will be adding and changing things around, but I thought this would give you a good, quick, first glance.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Welcome to the first post -- an introduction of sorts.

I was recently inspired when I read a book called "Do One Nice Thing." The author, Debbie Tenzer, decided that making a difference in the world doesn't have to be difficult, complicated, or expensive and decided to do just one nice thing a week -- on Mondays. I loved this concept. I was inspired by all of her stories and ideas of simple things each of us can do to make this a better place. I decided the one nice thing I can do is to start this blog.

There are so many good causes and organizations worthy of our attention. There have been so many times I have thought,...."I would love to help with this," or "I would love to be involved in that," but sometimes I feel overwhelmed and quite frankly can't find the information easily enough. I have come across organizations or ideas for service in magazines that I wish I could remember, but forgot as soon as I set the magazine down. I have also struggled feeling like I can't do everything, so where do I start? Often times, I haven't known who to talk to, where to go, how to make some of these things happen.

My hope for this blog is that it will be a place to start.
A place where I can share ideas, resources and information to make it easier to get started. I'm hoping it will be a place to collect and share inspiration.

I hope it will be a place where you can easily find something good to do.

Together, perhaps we can gather all of our goodness and make a difference.