“This is definitely not softball weather.”
You think? Yesterday when I heard this it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Brrrrr. In fact, after selling Christmas tree half the day on Saturday I can promise it is not ‘anything outside’ weather. I’m just now warming up.
Even with the sun out, my tree selling experience provided a whole new insight into my father. You see, when I was young my very entrepreneurial dad did all sorts of random jobs. I may have mentioned that for a while he owned a pet store. (It was so funny I even stole a character trait from this for my next novel, MOLTO MAYHEM.) But this was simply the tip of the iceberg. He also sold toys to carnival organizers. And every year at this time, he and a friend of his would set up a Christmas Tree stand. HE said it was the hardest job he ever did… and now I understand why.
The good news is that people were all in a happy, festive mood. We had hot apple cider to drink. Candy canes to eat. And holiday music to sing along with. However, by the time they had spent an hour searching and arguing over the perfect tree, their good mood had disappeared as fast as the apple cider. By the time the customers made it back to our tent, cold, tired and frustrated, I imagine all they wanted to do was get to the warmth of their home and begin decorating it.
I admit the trees were beautiful though: Big and perfectly shaped. And, since the farm was owned by a local family rather than a business, there were a plethora to choose from. The lovely family had donated the Christmas tree sales to our charter school, so that is how we found ourselves outside, in the 20 degree weather, tying trees to the top of cars. Thirty-seven trees later we tripped our way back to the car, shivering as we headed to our next stop, the church pageant.
And I finally also gained a new appreciation for the annual retelling of the birth of Christ. I always thought the best part was listening to the kindergarteners sing. This year my heart was warmed, though, not only by the sweet, sincere children, but also by the thermostat.
In this freezing cold weather my thoughts are with those who don’t have a way to stay warm. Do you have blankets or coats to donate? Leave me a comment with how you stay warm… or help others stay warm, and I will place you in my December drawing - $10 to the non-political charity of your choice. Every comment on any of my blogs enters you. So stop by and say hi all month long and then check back at the end of the month to see if you won.
“It is Giving-Tuesday after all.”
Indeed it is… something that almost got overlooked amongst the trillions of emails I have received between Thanksgiving and yesterday. Seriously, no one could actually open all of those emails, could they?
But today I want to. Today I want to open the many emails and Facebook posts and blogger posts and favorite NPR shows and find out about the causes these people most appreciate and support.
Like Benevolent.net, spotlighted this morning on MSNBC: a charity which connects donors directly with those in need. http://www.msnbc.com/thomas-roberts/watch/charity-connects-donors-directly-to-the-needy-79285315965
Or like the call on NPR’s Here and Now from photojournalist to do what you can to help the Syrian children refugee – “A book or whatever.” http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/12/03/photographer-syria-portraits I am reminded of the Holiday song by BANDAID which marked my youth, Do They Know It’s Christmastime At All.
For many the idea of Christmas is about what they don’t have, what they can’t give their kids, or the people who are missing from their life. I think I could handle all of the other things…. But having to face a Christmas without my husband or daughter would be impossible. And so, the cause I would like to spotlight is Comfort Zone Camp.
You may know that I am working to organize a fundraiser based on field goal kicking for this organization. This last summer I was fortunate enough to attend a day at one of their camps. Unless you have experienced the loss of a parent or sibling it is nearly impossible to understand the value of this organization. I like to hope my book, UNTANGLING THE KNOT, gives a glimpse into child grief, but I know it pales next to the reality. Still… as we come upon the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary (Dec. 14th) I can only think of the many children out there who have experienced a loss… maybe not so publicly or so violently, but any Christmas without a loved one is a tragedy.
So today I ask you to do one simple thing for Comfort Zone and for me and for the many kids who need help dealing with their grief – Comfort Zone Camp writes….
"As part of today’s #GivingTuesday you can help Comfort Zone, simply by posting to social media! A generous Comfort Zone supporter has pledged to donate $10 for every single post, pin or tweet that includes @ComfortZoneCamp and #GivingTuesday, up to $5,000!"
For more information on this free way to help link here: http://www.comfortzonecamp.org/givingtuesday
I love the fun of Christmas- the lights and the cookies and the presents. And I especially love that this year I have found #givingtuesday, when I can see through the commercialis, emails and catalogues, and find the real spirit of this holiday season.
Did you tweet or post about Comfort Zone? Leave me a comment to let me know what you said and I will enter you in my new December drawing to give $10 at the end of the month to the charity of choice for one lucky commenter.
And… it is fitting today to pick the November winner of my comment drawing. Thank you Michelle Bombet for your comment on recycling. You are the November winner! Comment here with your charity of choice and I will send them a $10 donation in your name.
Subscribe to my blog:
Link here to Betting Jessica on Amazon.com