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New Year, new home…

New year, new house

I’m sure all of you are as tired as I am, hearing about our move. Well, it happened yesterday and I’m sure I had written a fabulous posts between the holidays and packing and I promise when I find it in one of these thousands of boxes, it will be up.

Until then, thank you all for your kindness and patience in the next few days ahead.  Moving is never fun, especially this time of year. However, this New Years, we will start off in our new home. So cheers to new beginnings.

Wishing you all a wonderful and joyous New Year!

Charity Matters.

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Charity Matters Quotes: Christmas

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”  

Washington Irving

christmas party

Last night we celebrated the amazing volunteers, for the TACSC staff Christmas party. A group of passionate, enthusiastic high school and college students, also known as our staff, who volunteer all year to teach leadership and mentor younger students.  This group is why I love what I do.

Everyday we are bombarded with messages of war, despair, poverty and if you have watched the news latey..well it is pretty depressing. A few minutes with these exceptional volunteers takes all of that away.

I look to our youth as a place of hope. I really believe that each generation gives a little bit more…whether its time or talent….they give.

For me, the gift of hope in knowing that remarkable young people will carry the torch….is the best Christmas gift of all.

Charity Matters.

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Christmas Gifts

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly Merry Christmas. “

Peg Bracken

Rockwell christmas

Wishing you the merriest Christmas!

Charity Matters.

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Christmas is simply so much more

“Christmas is a necessity.  There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.”

 Eric Sevareid

Vintage christmas santaThe day after tomorrow is Christmas and if the late timing of this post is any indication, well I am a bit behind. I have now surrendered. Christmas will come whether I run ten more errands or none at all.  What is important is being present, not the presents. As I tell this to you, I am really telling it to myself….enjoy every little moment or the joy will escape you.

Christmas is about so much more ….

Charity Matters.

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Goodbye 1464

goodbye1464

Is it possible to have a love affair with a house? If so, I have been deeply in love, since the first moment I laid eyes on her almost nine years ago. A memory, I will never forget . She was an overgrown ivy covered mess, with bars on the windows, chipped paint, leaking roof and a list of repairs, a mile long. Yet, to me she was the most beautiful home I had ever seen. A house that you only dream you might live in one day.

My husband said she was way “too needy and too expensive and that it would never happen.” However, after the bidding war with 13 others, fate and the previous family of 50 years, we were entrusted with 1464. The almost decade spent remodeling, gardening, loving and living in this home has been some of the best years of my life.

When I think about what I will miss the most, the list is almost as long as the original repairs needed. I will miss waking up each day and seeing the sun rise over the tree tops in the park across the street. I will miss opening my doors to hearing the sounds of young children playing in the park, a sound that has become like the back round music for our home and a soundtrack for our life. I will miss sitting on my front lawn and having my own personal 4th of July show, while the entire city is in the park.

More than all of that, it will be the moments of daily life that will never happen again, looking out seeing a slew of dumped bicycles in the driveway with boys throwing footballs on the front lawn. Our families huge Easter egg hunts, the summer nights of  fierce badminton games, lighting candles for dinner parties and guests, pumpkin carvings, Christmas mornings and the celebration of friends and families that will not be happening again in this magical place.

Lastly, I will miss the ritual with my sons that happened every time we drove into the driveway and I saw my beloved 1464. I would turn and say, “Wow, I wonder who lives in that beautiful house?” The boys would respond, “I don’t know, but whoever they are, they sure are lucky.” Words that have never been more true. We were so lucky.

Thank you 1464, it has been a privilege and an honor to be your temporary custodians and this love affair will never end.  We have given everything we had to you and in turn you have blessed us beyond measure. A home is much more than wood and bricks, it has a soul and yours has entranced me and always will. Thank you for giving us so many memories and a place we proudly called home.

 

Charity Matters.

 

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The other gift

The other gift

I have a confession to make. For the first time in my life, I am not in the Christmas spirit. I keep waiting and hoping and thinking that it’s coming, but it has yet to appear. The last few months have not been easy and moving two days after Christmas certainly isn’t making it easier to feel the joy.

We are living in an empty house with boxes, and a Christmas tree but the usual trappings of the holidays are simply too much with the move. So, I find myself in a pickle for the first time…looking for Christmas cheer.

Just when I was having a low moment, I came across this. A magic cure for turning any frown upside down. So indulge and take a moment to see what happens when children have to choose between a gift for themselves or for their family.

Even these children know just how great it feels to give.

 

Charity Matters.

 

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There is no place like home

“At Christmas, all roads lead home.”

Marjorie Holmes

there is no place like home

Dorothy was right, there is no place like home. As I pack and plan for our December 28th move and departure from this home, I have never been more aware of how special home is. To me it is everything.

Home is family, home is love, it is safety, warmth, comfort and a place to be together. Wrapping up ones life and preparing for the holidays has put perspective on the importance of such a place. We suggested that going away this Christmas might be better with all the chaos and the unanimous vote was, “No, we want to be at home!”

So we are here, a Charlie Brown Christmas but we are home. At the end of the day, it is not what is inside the home but who. This week when they all come spilling back from school our home will once again be full and ready for the holidays.

Charity Matters.

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Raising Philanthropic Children

Raising philanthropic children 2014

I am always so amazed that is the same time each year that I find people asking me for suggestions for raising philanthropic children. As a result, I share this post once again as refresher for all, holidays or not.

While my sons are far from the poster children for philanthropy, they certainly do a lot to help others. I am proud that each of our sons has found different ways to give back and share the gifts that they have been given. My oldest has a passion for serving inner city children. His younger brother is now supporting ALS with his fraternity. The youngest, at 14, is still finding his way but a few adventures to various non-profits throughout LA have his wheels turning.

Each year at Thanksgiving, we sit down as a family and decide what our family will do this season to help others. We have adopted soldiers for a year, adopted families over the holidays that could not have Christmas, we have wrapped gifts at local Childrens Hospitals and voted on which non-profits we want to support. Each person trying to convince the others why their cause is most worthy.

The reality is that there is no simple answer to this question and that raising charitable children is an ongoing process. I read an article recently that said role modeling philanthropy is simply not enough. The article referenced a new study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. The director, Debra Mesch, said “the research showed that talking to children about giving increased by 20 percent the likelihood that children would give.”

I have shared these tips with you each season but they are always worth reviewing.

Here are a few tips to remember as we approach the season of giving:

Six Tips for Raising charitable children:

  1. Start early, as early as 4 or 5 years old. Giving becomes a habit.
  2. Talk to your children about what causes interest them and bring causes to their attention.
  3. Be intentional by involving your children in your own charity endeavors.
  4. Use online tools to research organizations to involve your children
  5. Be consistent. Make charity a part of your traditions, the holidays and birthdays.
  6. Emphasize the joy because giving feels great.

Benefits of raising charitable children:

  1. Opens children’s eyes to the fact that others are not as fortunate as they are
  2. Develops empathetic thinking
  3. Fosters an appreciation for what they have
  4. Enhances self-esteem
  5. Correlates to improved performance in school

While this topic is relevant for the holidays, it is important to remember that giving does not just happen once a year. Teaching the gifts you receive from giving should be a part of the year, not simply the season. Once your children feel how great it is to give, their lives will forever be altered in wonderful ways.

Charity Matters.

 

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Am I Superwoman?

Am I super woman?

Am I superwoman? An odd question and yet at this time of year, a role that many women feel they must embrace. During the holidays, we all must done our capes, grab our list and take on that role. My answer to that question is no and yes. I have always been able to multi-task, cruise through a list, juggle multiple devices at once and have dinner cooking on the stove. But does this really mean I’m super?

In the eyes of some, yes, but in reality, the answer is NO. This makes me busy and let me be clear, busy isn’t super, it is just busy. Somewhere along the way people have confused the two, myself included.  Busy doesn’t put me in the moment because I’m moving too fast to see and feel it. Busy is simply going down a list.

Superwoman, is super because she is present. She is super when she stops to recognize a moment that will slip away in a blink. Superwoman, cries, feels, admits she simply can’t do it all and most importantly, she stops to think and recognize it. Superwoman knows that life is not a list but a series of moments to be treasured and cherished before they simply slip away.

This holiday season and everyday that is the woman I am striving to be, super or not.

Charity Matters.

 

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Out with the old….

out with the old

As you all know we are in the process of moving. Actually, this weekend we are having our moving sale. We have hired someone to facilitate this for us, as the process is simply one more step that I simply cannot manage, more specifically, managing all that stuff.  How did we get here?

A home is like a handbag, the bigger it is, the more you can cram in it…but why? What is the purpose in filling it? As I look at a full house, I find myself struggling with the guilt and gluttony of it all. The guilt comes from wondering why do we have so much, when so many have so little?  An answer, I do not think is simple, but the question circles in my mind, as I sift through so much stuff.

The process is difficult enough and then adding the holidays to the formula has simply added to the confusion. How can we possibly shop for more stuff when we have worked so hard to purge all that we have? It simply makes no sense, none.

So, as I continue the sifting, editing and purging process, I am trying to find gratitude for all that we have. The sale will give us extra funds that we will pass along to our favorite causes and then everything that doesn’t sell will be donated to a few other non-profits that we support. While this does not bring clarity or answers to my questions, it will bring joy to others and that will fill my heart…not my home…and isn’t that what really matters?

 

Charity Matters.

 

Copyright © 2015 Charity Matters. This article may not be reproduced without explicit written permission; if you are not reading this in your newsreader, the site you are viewing is illegally infringing our copyright. We would be grateful if you contact us.