Time to Give Thanks

November 2017 has marked some difficult changes for me.  When you’re adapting to big changes, it’s easy to lose track of time.  Weeks seem to have flown by without me having noticed.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  Some days those things are easier to see than on other days.  On those days – the days when the world seems to be against you and things seem like they may never be “right” again – on those days it helps to have a practice in place to focus on the good.  I recently began being “thankful” on purpose – every day.

For me, it starts with “clean water to drink.”  I get up in the morning and fill a clean glass with crystal clear water straight from the tap.  I don’t have to walk a mile (or more) to a well or a filter site to collect water and carry it home.  I can wash my morning pills down with a whole glass without even thinking about it.  I take the time to look at that crystal clear water in the clean glass before I consume it.  I take a moment to give thanks for clean water, and that prayer of thanksgiving is followed by gratefulness for a furnace to take the chill off the air, a soft rug under my feet, and a giant fluffy dog who greets me as if he hasn’t seen me in a year.

After I trot downstairs, I have the luxury of letting the tap run until the water is hot before filling my kettle to put it on to boil.  I can take a long, hot shower and not worry about whether that luxury will leave me without clean water to cook dinner with later in the day.

When I was in the Vermilion Rotary Club, the clean water problem came to my attention for the first time.   I was in my late 40s before I realized that something as basic as clean water is a barrier to basic hygiene, education, and economic growth in much of the world.

A Rotary colleague, John Hill, put together a clean water initiative through Clean Water for Haiti.  Clean Water for Haiti puts filters for safe water in schools.  The children can collect their household’s clean water while they receive an education.  The filters are assembled in Haiti, creating jobs.

Start your day off with an attitude of gratitude. If you can’t find something to be grateful for, pour yourself a glass of clean water and drink it.   If you are blessed, as I am, with money to pay the bills with some left at the end of the month, consider giving to Clean Water for Haiti or another charity providing clean water solutions in areas of need.

For the price of a $1.00 bottle of drinking water per day for just over 3 months, you can sponsor a clean water bio filter for an entire family.  I will be giving to Clean Water for Haiti on Giving Tuesday -help me to help them “Make Waves,” so that someone, somewhere, can start their day by giving thanks for a glass of clean water.


Take the [Lunch] Bucket Challenge!

I was thrilled recently to learn that the Vermilion, Ohio chapter of the Salvation Army will be launching a backpack program for students in January of 2015.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a backpack program supplies children from households that are food insecure (not enough money to ensure enough food is in the house) with a backpack that is filled with food items for the child to consume on the weekend when there are no school lunches and breakfasts.

Second Harvest Food Bank partners with several local charities that sponsor backpack programs in other nearby school systems.  A donation to Second Harvest or to Vermilion Salvation Army for the backpack program is a great way to get this project started.

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The Ice Bucket Challenge has gotten a lot of press lately.  Thousands of people have taken the challenge to either donate to a charity that funds ALS research or to douse themselves with a bucket of ice water (or both!)  Whether you think the idea is ingenious or lame, there’s no question that the challenge has raised millions for ALS charities and raised awareness of the illness and its challenges.

September is Hunger Action Month.  I’ve turned my Facebook Profile orange for hunger awareness.  Those of you who know me already are aware that fighting hunger is an issue that is important to me – especially as it relates to children who are hungry.

For the month of September, I’m starting the Lunch Bucket Challenge.  I will not eat at restaurants / fast food for the month of September.  Instead, I will eat lunch at home or pack it in my lunch container and donate the savings to a local hunger program at the end of the month.  Each day I will photograph my lunch and ask others to join me in this challenge.

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Wednesday September 3, 2014

Seasoned grilled chicken with strawberries, blueberries, mushrooms, sliced almonds and honeyed goat cheese on a bed of romaine lettuce with a blush raspberry vinaigrette dressing (prepared and consumed at home).

I will be posting details shortly about a second fundraising initiative for hunger.  Please check back for details!