“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
A crazy image but the perfect visual to describe the ties that bind. Each of us is uniquely bound to another, to a community, to a cause.
The ties that bind, that indescribable feeling that bonds each of us together. It is those fibers that make us feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. Ultimately, it is that same feeling of connection that empowers us to act and to help another.
We are all connected by a thousand tiny fibers and sympathetic threads, as Melville said.
The question remains, how do we turn that connection into action and the cause into an effect?
P.S. Apologies for the resend on this post and tomorrows. Due to a new web-host, the two earlier post this week were not sent to my beloved email subscribers, so here is Monday’s post and Wednesdays will come tomorrow. Thank you in advance for your understanding and continued support!
As many of you know we moved over the holidays. What you may not know is that prior to moving to the modern house, we made an offer on another falling down fixer upper that I had fallen hard for. A big 1920s Spanish, that was a crazy money pit. I dreamed of loving it, fixing it, giving it everything I had and making it beautiful again. Just as we had done a few times before. Love, fix, give. A pattern all too familiar.
This time fate spared me the pain and agony of the fixer and we did not get that house but instead a modern glass box that needs nothing but furniture. As I opened my eyes, the first morning in the new house, I stared across the canyon and found myself looking head on with the old Spanish. I laid there in disbelief and thought how bizarre that this fixer is what I will look at everyday.
The more I thought about the old house, I realized that it was a sign and the first gift of the New Year. That old house is a daily reminder of my old self and that I only have so much to give. I will never stop loving, fixing and giving, it is who I am. However, as I wrap up my forties and enter a New Year and decade, I find myself looking inward instead of out for projects and I’m sure there are a few…
So as we enter 2016, I will wake up each day reminded that we only have so much to give. We do what we can, but we need to take care of ourselves. Once we have, everything else simply falls into place. This year my fixer upper is a 49-year-old who is loves loving, fixing and giving.
I’ve always heard about those infamous fathers who went out for a newspaper and never came back. I used to think, who does that? Lately, with responsibility after responsibility, task after task, commitment after commitment…I’m embarrassed to admit that I almost get it…almost. Some days the load is overwhelming.
While running away certainly isn’t a solution, looking at what causes this feeling amongst many people in the middle of their lives is. What is it that happens in the middle of our lives that makes us feel that way? I live the life I have always dreamed of then some. Yet, there are days that going out for a newspaper doesn’t sound like a bad idea….just saying. Do we take on too much? Are moving at too fast a pace to enjoy the journey? Are we giving until we have nothing left or are we still searching for more?
As my nest is almost empty, and I see part two of my life begin to unfold ahead of me, these are the questions I find myself pondering and I don’t think I’m alone…..just the only one crazy enough to put them in ink. Until I find the answers, I will be thankful for all I have, the blessings in my life and gratitude that I don’t read the paper.
Summer has always been my favorite time of year. I love the lazy days, the beach, the sun and reading a great book. However, these days summer is the busiest time of year for me. So when my girlfriend had a big birthday to celebrate and it included all of the above…..sun, sand and fun I signed up.
As someone who has a very hard time turning work off, I am looking forward to a few days of friends and fun. There won’t be a post on friday but I will be back re-energized next week ready to begin year five of Charity Matters.
Today is Charity Matter’s 4th birthday and I thought in honor of that I would repost my original words written here. 600 blog posts later, with thousands of you sharing and changing my life for the better, I want to say thank you. When I began this journey I had nothing more than faith and an idea. Thank you for following, sharing and most importantly believing in me and this work. So, take a peak at the post that began it all…..
I don’t know if it was Oprah’s last show and message that stirred my soul, or a calling, but when the question was asked to the world, ”What is your life saying to you now?” I knew my answer was MAKE a DIFFERENCE.
Little or big, it doesn’t matter, but that is the voice inside my head. That is the purpose of this blog and the goal which it will try to achieve in ways little and big because no matter how it happens a difference; a thought, an inspiration, a positive step forward to help another human on this planet by planting a seed of compassion is the purpose.
So every few days we will strive to give you a thought, a quote, an inspiring Charity Profile, someone who lives their life through actions and not words.
Charity is defined as help, aid and contribution. It is not about money, but rather it is about converting passion into change. Matter is a substance, a subject and something of importance and that is what this blog hopes to do.
So thank you for joining me at the beginning. We are each a link in the human chain that joins us all. I hope you will sign up to be a link that connects people and causes that matter. I know together we can do anything.
I hope you didn’t think I went on vacation without telling you all. I have been busy writing and posting away but somehow a WordPress upgrade blocked my post from being sent out. so forgive me for bombarding your in box but I wanted to share with you just a few of the 6 posts you seemed to have missed.
So following this email I will resend you some of the highlights. Thank you all for continuing to inspire me, share your journeys in making a difference and knowing that Charity Matters.
Yikes, just the word itself is enough to drive everyone away, but it is a fact of life that we all have to face. Taxes. Today, is December 30th and we are getting down to the wire for those last-minute tax deductions. My father was giddy 46 years ago today when my younger sister was born, because he received an extra tax deduction that year……and of course a beautiful baby girl. Inducing labor is probably the more difficult way to receive a tax deduction, charitable giving might be an easier path.
While, I am not a financial expert I did do a little research and thought it was worth sharing for those trying to wrap up their end of year donations.
Suggested Guidelines for Financial Donations
If you are planning on deducting any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, you must have a bank record or credit card receipt and a letter in writing from the charity you donated too. The letter must show the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution and the organizations 501c3 non-profit status.
You must always obtain an acknowledgment from a charitable organization for any tax-deductible donation, whether it is money or property, of $250 or more.
Rules for Charitable Contributions of Clothing and Household Items
In order to be tax-deductible, clothing and household items donated to charity, must be in good used condition or better. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard, if a qualified appraisal of the item is included.
Donors must get a written acknowledgement from the charity for all gifts worth $250 or more that includes a description of the items contributed. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens.
Additional Tips from the IRS
• Your donations are only deductible for the year they were made. So remember, donations that were charged to a credit card before the end of 2013 count for 2013. This is true even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2014. Checks count for 2013 as long as they were mailed in 2013.
• It’s sad that this even has to be said, but always check to make sure that the non-profit organization is eligible. Non-profits with 501c3 status, many religious organizations such as churches and some government organizations, are the only ones that are tax-deductible. If you are unsure, you can check using this link from the IRS, Exempt Organization Select Check.
• If the amount of a taxpayer’s deduction for all non-cash contributions is over $500, a properly completed Form 8283 must be submitted with the tax return.
“Charity starts at home” is a phrase often heard mumbled by my husband from under his breath. Usually as I am dashing out to a meeting or getting excited about a cause I care about. I chuckle and laugh it off, kiss his cheek and head on my way. Lately, his words are echoing in my head as many projects have been neglected at home due to someone else in greater need for my time or resources.
Yet, there comes a time when his phrase rings all too true and that time is now. What does that mean? For me, it means putting my family, our home and our “projects” at the head of the line. It means touching up chipped paint and finally gutting the original 1928 kitchen. Who still has screens in the backs of their cabinets to keep their food fresh? Answer, that would be us.
This summer I am taking my husband’s words to heart. My time and energy will be spent focusing on our family, our long forgotten projects and being filled with gratitude for all my blessings. My parents used to have a sign in their kitchen that said,”Pardon the inconvenience, while we remodel to serve you better.” The sign was up for 40 years, remodeling or not.
I am asking you to pardon the inconvenience this summer, I will still be posting three days a week but construction may delay things a bit. Thank you in advance for being patient with me and realizing that perhaps my husband is right, Charity starts at home……sometimes.
I may have mentioned before that my Dad has died, more than a few times, and is still here to talk about it. Yes, its true. My Dad has seen the light, twice after a horrible car accident and then more recently, he died in spin class and was resuscitated. Today, he still sits behind me in spin class (no longer on the same bike) and is healthy, happy and alive.
Sometimes, Dad’s get taken for granted. They are the guys in the back round who are silently making things happen. For me, it may have taken these 3 near death experiences to truly appreciate what a remarkable guy my dad is. What makes him remarkable is probably the same things that make you remarkable. His dedication to his family, his faith and his ability to simply keep going.
I asked him once, shortly after my parents car accident, how was he coping with all the loss? His answer, “Just like everyone else, I put one foot in front of the other and simply keep going.” That may sound simple but in fact it’s not. We all have obstacles, road blocks in our way. My dad, in this moment, had lost his wife, his best friends and almost his own life and yet he just kept going.
We hear over and over to teach our children by example. My dad isn’t one to talk a lot, but teach us by example he has. He has never missed an important anything in our lives or his grandchildren’s lives. He has never missed a sunday mass or anything that has to do with family. He doesn’t talk about it he just “simply keeps going.”
So this Father’s Day, I wanted to give a special shout out to my dad and thank him for always showing us what is important. I love you Dad and hope you “simply keep going” for a very long time and until then, I’ll catch you in spin class.
Tomorrow is just another day like any other except that it is the marking of another year passing. I have so many friends that dread these days which justify the wrinkles and sadly few left that embrace their birthday. When we were little, we loved the cone-shaped hats, the friends, the candles. When and why did that change?
Well for me, it hasn’t. I am still a birthday girl. I love everything about them. First and foremost it is the friends and family that reach out, people I love, I miss or I just simply really enjoy. How fantastic to have one day a year when all those people simply say hello? Honestly, that is my favorite part of birthdays.
The other thing that birthdays have brought in the past few years is a time of reflection and gratitude. I am so grateful that I am alive, I am healthy and that I get to celebrate another magical year of living. That is a beautiful gift and one that I never take for granted.
Birthdays are also a time to see where I am. What have I accomplished this year? Being born in June, it’s a nice half-year assessment mark. Looking back and acknowledging any goal accomplished and looking ahead with all of the new ones I can’t wait to tackle.
I am in my late forties now and to me I’m just getting going. I have a whole second half of life beginning. How exciting is that? So tomorrow, I will be soaking up the calls, the friends, the love and the moments. Something we should all do everyday, even if it’s not our birthday.
I might pass on the cone-shaped hat this year but I will enjoy blowing out all those candles, even the extra one!
Welcome to the new look of Charity Matters! We have been working hard behind the scenes to create a fresh, exciting and engaging new platform that we hope continues to inspire you.
As I mentioned on friday, I made a promise or a wish that this day would come and I find it particularly exciting that our new web-site is launching on International Make A Wish Day.
World Wish Day is organized by Make-A-Wish to commemorate the anniversary of the wish that inspired the creation of what is now one of the world’s leading children’s charities. Seven-year-old Chris Greicius’ wish to be a police officer was granted in Phoenix, Arizona by volunteers on April 29, 1980.
Since Chris’ wish in 1980, more than 300,000 children around the world have had their fondest wishes fulfilled by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Every 23 minutes, Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition somewhere in the world. Make A Wish Foundation’s mission is to “enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.”
My wish has already come true because you are here with me on this journey and I am so grateful to all of who continue to share Charity Matters on Facebook, like us, tweet, follow on Linkedin and everything in between. I am humbled and grateful for each you. Thank you for continuing to be a part of making my wishes come true.
I had another post prepared for today but in light of what happened in Boston on monday, it somehow no longer felt relevant. On monday I said, “We should care for each other more and tax each other less.” Never was that more true than in Boston moments after the bombings. The sight of people running towards the injured renewed my faith in humanity as much as the evil behind the terror made me question it.
We were in Boston a couple of summers ago and every time I am in that city, I am renewed with patriotism. I am proud of who we are and where we came from as a nation. I am reminded of the continued price our freedom has. Monday’s bombings tells us that we can never stop the work of our forefathers. Although, we all grumble about paying taxes, we still know how blessed we are to live in this great country.
As a nation, Americans always come together, especially in times of tragedy. We need to continue to remember who we are, be proud and most importantly continue to care for one another.
Hopefully you are not like me and your taxes were done in January and you are simply waiting for the mailman to arrive with a refund. However, if you are a bit more last-minute (just signed my taxes today) than perhaps a little simple charitable deduction advice isn’t too late.
I came across this, and although it might be a bit remedial for some I thought it might be helpful for others. Disclaimer: I am not a tax expert. However, for some, charitable deductions can be perplexing. so here it is, a simple little guide.
Hopefully, this weekend won’t be spent rummaging through old receipts and donations but if it is, remember all the great deeds you did this past year and the lives that you touched. Isn’t that whats really important?