Champion Your Charity

FREE JEWELRY!!!! Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. ~Dr. Seuss

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There’s an interesting discussion taking place in the prototype forums in the Etsy community. The group having the discussion is one focused on exploring a new marketplace feature which will assist sellers in donating portions of their sales to non-profit organizations. The discussion is focused on openly “advertising” charitable contributions spurred by sales of merchandise. Apparently, the topic had come up on another board and it had been stated that some buyers are actually turned off by donation disclosure because it is seen as a marketing ploy rather than true charity. Another perspective expressed in the prototype discussion that not disclosing support of a non-profit forfeits buyers’ right to opt-out of contributing to a cause they don’t support or may even oppose. A third position states that giving shouldn’t be a public act directly tied to sales and that a truly charitable buyer will give to the cause he or she deems worthy independent of the choice to purchase any item sold anywhere.

Of course there is concern about the integrity of sellers who might claim to support this or that organization or cause for the sake of marketing and increased sales but never fulfill their public pledge. There’s also criticism, although not very articulate, for campaigns like the General Mills’ Pink Lids campaigns, stating that contributing to such campaigns should be possible without the necessity of a purchase. For what it’s worth, General Mills does have several options from which would-be contributors may choose that don’t require the purchase of General Mills products. Hopefully, anyone who hopes to get the warm-fuzzies because they’ve saved and redeemed yogurt lids will research the facts of the campaign and understand that General Mills’ pledge to donate 10 cents for each lid redeemed is capped at $1.5M.

This discussion is very interesting to me, but honestly, I don’t think that it’s relevant to my little shop. Maybe someday, but not today. I’m not quite ready to select an organization to which I am willing to tie my business publicly. The notion of charitable giving through my business, however, is appealing to me… But not through proceeds from sales of my merchandise. The better option for my shop’s philanthropic efforts is the donation of actual merchandise to fundraising events like silent (or not-so-silent) auctions, raffles and awards/prizes. The obstacle I’m facing in regards to this kind of charitable donation, because I haven’t selected a single, specific non-profit or cause, is knowing to whom I should make the donation.

So, at this point, I am researching auctioneers who specialize in services for non-profits and looking into what charity events may be up-coming in my community. Although I am interested in supporting a cause or organization that shares my values and conducts its business in a manner I find ethical and constructive, I believe that true giving comes from the heart, so I also hope to give support where I find an emotional bond. Finding that emotional bond may be something that I find directly, but maybe the most meaningful bond I find will come from your experience with an organization committed to service, education, welfare, research or civil rights (man or beast). I hope that if your life has been positively affected by an organization dedicated to helping others you will share your story with me. I promise that your story will remain confidential unless you give me permission to share it. If the group you nominate is one that is compatible to my goals, my first donation to that group will be made in your name, or in the name of the person you choose (unless you wish to remain anonymous).

If you don’t wish to share your story or nomination in the comments, please, use the form below.

Thanks in advance for helping with this important decision.

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Who’s the Boss?

This tiny, little creature is Akiane (pronounced “ah key on ah”). I call her Mommie most of the time because she, along with the amazing (now-departed) Diggity Dog, has given me 16 beautiful grandpuppies. Mommie is about 500 pounds of fierce, rolled into about 5 pounds of preciousness.

Despite her tiny frame, there’s no doubt who runs things around here. That’s right, this smidgen of a dog absolutely dominates me all day long. Of course, being a chihuahua (pronounced “chi-wow-wow” around here), she’s obsessively faithful and loyal. I have no doubt that she would do her best and defend me to her death against any threat I might face…

Because of this pint-sized canine, I have lost any claim to the part of my anatomy between my hips and knees that exists only when I am sitting; I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find an image of my Mommie along side the definition of “lapdog” in any dictionary. My laptop computer has become a kneetop device in order to accommodate the queen on her preferred throne. And just to be sure that she knows that I know that I have the privilege of typing (instead of petting or otherwise devoting my attention to her) only because she allows it, she positions herself so that her head rests on one or the other of my wrists.

There’s more to her domination than taking over my lap; she must be on some part of me at all times (unless she is making the rounds to remind My Sweetheart that he is also hers). Mommie is there to assure me that she is in charge even when there is no lap in which she can lounge. When I get on my hands and knees to check for stray beads in my crafting area, this is how she reminds me who’s the boss:

Mommie on my neck

Yes, it’s a little embarrassing…

Of course, Mommie knows that if she wants to remain in power she has to trust her advisors and follow their recommendations on certain subjects. To that end, she’s a reasonably obedient chihuahua (except for knowing when the heck to zip her lip) and lets me pretend to be the one who makes most of our decisions. Anyone who really knows us, however, knows better.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Bittersweet Season Begins Again

I just opened my admin panel to make a quick post and found this notification from WordPress waiting for me:

Happy Anniversary! You registered on WordPress.com 2 years ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

I can hardly believe all of the unexpected and heartbreaking events that have taken place in the past two years, but through it all, I have My Sweetheart and I feel like our love grows more and more every day. Two years ago I wouldn’t have expected to be saying that now. Maybe that’s just proof that everything really does happen for a reason. {sad smile}

Anyway… I am here to make a quick post about the upcoming holiday season, which is always so difficult for me. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that I lost my grandparents a year apart at this time of year over a decade ago and have seen very little of my natural family since then. My Sweetheart is known to say that when we grow up, our family becomes more about the people we choose to have in our lives. I agree with that philosophy more and more, but in the past year (or two) the list of those we call family is shorter and shorter. Last year we lost two members of our closest family, our friend Pam and our Diggity Dog, exactly one month apart, and those wounds are still very fresh today. Almost everyone else we have come to know and love and trust as family have pruned themselves from our chosen family tree by one form or another of deceit or devious behavior. With so few friends to call on this year, my favorite aspect of the holidays is going to be a bit tricky.

THAT is what I was going to post about… My favorite thing about the holiday season is cooking for the people I love. Every year, My Sweetheart and I put out an open invitation to everyone we know to join us for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. Instead, we have decided that we aren’t even going to celebrate on the same day as the rest of the country. This year, we will be celebrating one day early. We lost our Diggity Dog on the day before Thanksgiving last year, so we are going to celebrate that little dog and everything else for which we are thankful on the anniversary of his passing. (Yes, I know that the date won’t be the same, but it’s the significance of the *day* that means something to us.)

And, just because we aren’t going to expect to feed a family the size of an army, don’t think I won’t be cooking up a feast. I’m already looking for a couple of new recipes to include in this year’s menu on Food.com. I’ve been a member of the site since it was called RecipeZaar.

RecipeZaar founding member banner

My username there is “LoveToCookHateToClean,” so if you have a recipe to help brighten our season a little bit, let me know in the comments here or find me in the community pages there. I love learning new dishes for My Sweetheart.

Are the holidays a difficult time for you, too? Share your coping strategy in the comments. I need all the help I can get.

Week One: The Workbench…

I realize that it has been a short time, make that a very short time, since I announced that My Sweetheart and I have leased a warehouse and posted photos of the (then-)cavernous 2500 sq ft interior of that warehouse. I also realize that the reason we chose to go the warehouse route (an important factor in the decision, anyway) is My Sweetheart’s compulsion tendency ability to  dumpster dive discover treasures he can’t pass up every time he leaves the house. What I didn’t realize is just how quickly 2500 sq ft of open area can get out of hand… Even before we’ve moved all of our existing possessions from storage. I should have been more strict from the start, but I wasn’t and now, where there should be a workbench and tool storage area, we have this:

Now I’m going to get this workbench/tools area back under control and post the results on Monday.

Is there an area of your world (a room, a drawer, wallet, purse) that has lost it’s purpose to clutter? Take a pic & post it on your blog and post a link in the comments here. You’ll have 4 days to de-clutter the area and post the results on Monday.

C’mon!  It’ll make you feel better and increase your link-love, too.

Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have a lot of work to do….