It's all about the little things…

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 6-Bob Ross


Happy Halloween everyone!  Even though we had exactly zero trick-or-treaters tonight we still had a great evening, because Scott found out this morning that he was the winner of $150,000 grant!  Whoop whoop!  Today is definitely a happy day which totally reminds me of Bob Ross and his “happy trees”.  I have only seen one couple dress up in costume as Bob and his trees, but I still think it was one of the funniest costumes ever.  It’s one of those costumes that you automatically think, “Why did I think of that?”  Thanks for teaching us the joy of painting, and how to make happy little trees whenever our hearts desire.

Happy trees!

I am most definitely not a painter, but I am a pretty awesome doodler.  Apparently so are Betty White, Jodie Foster, Donald Trump, and John Travolta.  This Thursday Doodle for Hunger will host its twelfth celebrity auction to benefit St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters.  These original works of art, with the signature of the celebrity, will be sold after an evening of good food and fun.  SFFPS was established to help alleviate the physical and emotional hunger that poor families suffer on a daily basis.  SFFPS provides food, clothing, shelter, and other programs to help end the hunger cycle like counseling and job training to thousands of people each year.  With over 22 locations all of New York City, Long Island, and even New Jersey SFFPS it gets the thumbs up from The Donald.  It turns out that you can also Run and Spin for Hunger, and help feed hungry souls.  With Thanksgiving approaching rapidly this need weighs on our hearts more and more everyday.  Mr. Ross also inspired many young people out there to pick a brush and get their paint on.  Young Audiences for Learning Art is working to accomplish the same goal.  Started back in 1952 YALA now has 30 affiliates across the United States that provide schools in in-school, after-school, summer, and family programs that excite young people about art.  YALA brings young artists together with professionals of all types of disciplines so they are able to learn, create, and participate in any and every art they have an interest in.  They reached over 7 million children in almost 7,000 different schools just last year.  YALA believes that the arts should be an essential part of every student’s education.  I’m pretty sure Bob would agree.

Doodle for Hunger Donation

Young Audiences of Learning Art Donation 

So here’s to you Bob Ross!  You had the big fro and the endless smile that everyone loved to tune in to on PBS.  Your birthday was actually just a couple of days before Halloween, so it only seems right to give you a shout-out.  Mr. Rogers and his puppets had nothing on you and your brushes.  Thanks for bringing out the artist that is buried somewhere inside of all of us.

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 5-Little Red Riding Hood

Halloween is almost here!  We decided to celebrate a little early and joined our friends for a costume party last night.  Frankenstein, Carrie, a gypsy, Flavor Flav, the most interesting man in the world, Clark Kent and Lois Lane, and Little Red Riding Hood were all just kicking it for a couple of hours.  Through my usual Sunday Facebooking time I also saw that there were several other Little Red Riding Hoods partying it up last night.  Her outfit is pretty cute so it’s no real surprise that she’s a popular costume each year.  Plus everyone loves a happy ending to a story.  Those Brothers Grimm were talented men.

So cute!

The Little Red Riding Hood cycling event is put on every year by the Bonneville Cycling Club to raise money and awareness about all different kinds of cancers that affect women.  This event is cool because it’s a girls only event!  With five different routes that are 18, 36, 50, 80 and 100 mile distances, there is a ride for everyone.  LRRH even tailors their t-shirts for their female riders.  No bulky Beefy-T shirts for this event.  They also make sure they take care of their riders by making sure there is endless food at all the rest stops along the rides, and put on a big finish line celebration.  LRRH takes place in the beautiful Cache Valley in Northern Utah, and gives us girls the ultimate excuse for a girls weekend.  Be sure you sign up early though if you’re thinking about riding for cancer.  The event is limited to 3000 participants and last year registration was full in only 23 hours.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it cancer.  Classic stories like LRRH are being given a new digital life by the company Speakaboos.  They combine the voices of celebrities with beautiful illustrations and original music to make reading fun for children.  They develop literary skills and learn about technology at the same time in a safe way that their parents can feel good about.  Speakaboos also donates a portion of its proceeds to a couple of charities that benefit children.  One of these is The National Education Association who envisions a great public school for every student.  Started way back in 1857 NEA knows that a public education is the gateway to opportunity, and everyone deserves that right.

Little Red Riding Hood Ride Donation

National Education Association Donation

So here’s to you Little Red Riding Hood!  You and your fashionable red cape are easy to spot at a party that is full of ghouls and ghosts.  That Big Bad Wolf almost had you tricked, but luckily you saw right through him and his big teeth and hands.  Thanks for teaching us that double checking can never hurt.

Week 48-Costumes and Charity, Day 4-Scobby Doo

Oh Scoobs!

It’s Scooby Doobie Doo!  I love dogs, and I always have so it makes sense that Scooby Doo would have a special place in my heart.  Those movies are the best no matter how old I get.  I’ve also never been Scooby or any other characters for Halloween but you always see Shaggys, Velmas, and Daphnes trick or treating.  We went out to the university farm today and watched the livestock show for a little while and showed my family around.  Even though they were showing sheep, pigs, and cattle for some reason it reminded me of Scooby walking around town with his buddies.  So naturally my question was, “Scooby Dooby Do where are you?”

It seems like we are always concerned about our friends and family getting cancer, but unfortunately our little four-legged friends are also susceptible to the big casino.  Canine Cancer Awareness is dedicated to raising awareness about doggy cancer, its prevalence, and how it can be treated.  In fact, all the donations for CCA go to help pay for veterinary care of sick dogs whose owners aren’t able to afford it.  I know it would break my heart to see my little Oscar or Pippy suffering and not be able to help them because of financial issues.  CCA is also out there beating the streets and filling the internet with as much information as possible about canine cancer.  CCA is also showing cancer that we bite back tonight at their Halloween Charity Ball.  A whopping 25% of dogs will get cancer at some point in their little doggy life, but we have the power to save them.  Let’s show cancer what tricks we have up our sleeves this Halloween!  The National Canine Cancer Foundation is right there in the trenches with CCA working to wipe out cancer in dogs.  While they also raise awareness NCCF is really focused on funding research to find a cure for canine cancer.  NCCF also fosters collaborations between clinical veterinarians and research scientist in the laboratories developing new treatments and ways to diagnosis our furry friends.  I love that they talk about this is their mission statement because it’s so important that we are able to translate what happens in a research setting to everyday life.  When we all work together, we are the cure.

Canine Cancer Awareness Donation

National Canine Cancer Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Scooby Doo!  You were a serious crime solver, and a lover of those Scooby snacks.  You know you’re good when people keep remaking your movies.  Thanks for entertaining kids of all ages and being one of the best Halloween costumes year after year.  

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 3-Ghost

Boo!  A ghost is one of the easiest costumes to be for Halloween, but it is also a classic.  Get a white bed sheet, cut some holes in it for your eyes, and viola you’ve got a costume!  There have been millions and millions of dollars poured into entertainment that star ghosts.  The Sixth Sense, Ghost, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and the creepy Bettlejuice are just a couple of examples.  I’m not even sure if I believe in ghosts but there are a lot of people out there who do.  I will admit that I am a sucker for any of the TV shows involving any sort of “ghost hunting” though.  Thank goodness for guilty pleasures right? 

Being locked up in a prison is no walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination, but it can really turn people into a ghost of their former self.  Reprieve is a very unique organization in that they use the law to make sure the civil rights of prisoners are protected no matter if they are on death row or in Guantanamo Bay.  Reprieve also works to find and defend “ghost prisoners”, which are secretly held in prison, around the world.  They also devote the most attention to prisoners who were convicted of the most extreme crimes because they are often times the individuals who are treated the poorest.  Reprieve holds the most powerful governments to the highest standards when it comes to fairly conducting trails.  Reprieve is not trying to defend those who are guilty of crimes, they are simply ensuring that they have the same basic rights that we all as human beings deserve.  I’m not really sure what a ghost tree is, but every year the Ghost Tree Invitational raises money for the organization First Story.  FS provides a non-government alternative to providing housing for low-income families in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.  FS partners with other groups to offer affordable housing in vibrant communities that are already established.  FS targets families that do not qualify for governmental assistance, but still need help in order to make ends meet.  The Ghost Tree Invitation helped to raise over $50,000 this year alone to help charities just like FS.  That is definitely a cause worth building.

A First Story home

Reprieve Donation

First Story Donation

So here’s to you ghosts!  You hang out with the ghouls and the goblins, but I still think you’re not so bad.  I mean, I’ve never seen one of you during my life so what’s there to be scared of?  Well I can think of lots of other things, but that’s not the point.  Thanks for being a haunting reminder that we better make the most of our lives because it’ll be over before we know it.

Week 48-Costumes and Charities Day 2-Vampires

Nothing is better than a baby vampire

I want to suck your blood!  Well maybe not but I do like vampires, and they have been all the rage in the past few years thanks to Sookie Stackhouse and Edward Cullen.  Even though I don’t think I would enjoy surviving on red blood cells, or sleeping in a coffin, but I would like having fangs.  Nothing says Halloween quite like fictional characters that are immortal.  I have to admit that I started reading the Twilight series and I just couldn’t stop.  I totally get the fascination with these pale skinned creatures, and it turns out that they’re charitable as well.  Google is a wonderful thing.

So there aren’t any charities that are run by vampires, for obvious reasons, but there are lots of actors who play vampires that are charitable.  Candice Accola, who plays Caroline Forbes in The Vampire Dairies, spends her free time volunteering for the Turn The Corner which works to bring awareness about Lyme Disease.  Lyme disease is the most common of the diseases ticks carry, and often goes undiagnosed because many of the symptoms mimic other diseases.  TTC wants people to know how serious lyme disease really is.  In the most severe cases the disease can cause paralysis or cause a patient to go comatose.  TTC is also working to discover innovative ways to diagnose and treat this unforgiving disease.  Candice has combined her passions for TTC and fashion to create a mu-mu whose sales will benefit the organization.  That is one mu-mu I would be proud to wear.  Candice’s co-star Ian Somerhalder takes to his Twitter to let the world know where his passions lie.  He’s also the founder of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation.  I know surprise, surprise.  ISF empowers, educates, and collaborates with people and projects that positively impact the planet.  The ISF team believes that the world is one big organism which we are all a part of.  ISF also stimulates the minds of youth across the nation.  Most 14 year-olds are worried about what brand of jeans they are going to wear to school, but one ISF Youth wants to know if fashion is hurting our planet.  It turns out that clothes can be as green as they are fashionable.  Who know vampires were so considerate of the planet?

Turn The Corner Donation 

Ian Somerhalder Foundation Donation

So here’s to you vampires!  You wear scary capes and you hate garlic, or at least that’s what I’ve been told.  You’re quite popular again these days, but I guess that you’ve heard that before since you are immortal.  Thanks for scaring the pants off me when I was a little kid, and taking care of our planet.  Ironic, I know.

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 1-Dorothy

Happy Halloween week!  I’m so excited for Halloween this year because we have a great party to go to, and Clay, Melanie, and my Mom are coming up to join in on the festivities!  I wish I could celebrate with all my friends and families but I’ll take what I can get.  As all my students were leaving today I asked them what their Halloween plans and costumes were.  The responses ran the gamete but my favorite was “Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz.”  First of all, that’s my favorite movie so the “Wizard of Oz” part was not necessary.  Second, I haveALWAYS wanted to be Dorothy for Halloween and have yet to do so.  I’m just thankful someone else gets to click their heels three times and realize there’s no place like home.

This is totally me, right?

Thanks to the Great Ormand Street Hospital Charity you can see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece all for charity.  GOSH opened on another very celebrated holiday back in 1852.  On Valentine’s Day GOSH started it’s very first day with only ten beds to treat very sick children.  They have been dedicated to children’s health care from day one, and have worked endlessly to find new and better ways to treat childhood diseases.  GOSH is also focused on collaborating with other hospitals in order to be the best children’s hospital in the UK.  GOSH also trains the most pediatric nurses of any UK hospital, and has more than 50 different clinical specialties.  Their talented staff and world-class treatments are the reason that more than 175,000 children are seen at the hospital every year.  You can also decorate cards and posters to brighten the day of children being treated at the hospital.  These children aren’t just patients to GOSH, they are like family.  Dorothy even has her own charity.  Well maybe not the Dorothy from Kansas, but Dorothy’s Family is a charity that was created in memory of Dorothy Traver.  Dorothy lost her battle with cancer 8 years ago, but DF honors her memory through serving local children who have been diagnosed with cancer.  DF works to unite family and friends in order to alleviate the financial burden of hospital and family service program bills.  Dorothy’s Family started in Orlando and has grown to include Denver, New York, and Chicago.  Support, and care, and love, oh my!

Great Ormand Street Hospital Charity Donation

Dorothy’s Family Donation

So here’s to you Dorothy!  I’m not dressing up as you this year, again, but one day I promise I will!  You have been my favorite character for more years than I’d like to admit, but it’s because you are timeless.  You cared about getting the Tinman a heart, the Scarecrow a brain, and the Lion some courage just as much as you cared about getting home.  We may not be in Kansas anymore, but thanks to you, we know that following our hearts will take us exactly where we need to be.

Yep, I'm pretty sure you're right

Week 57-People’s Choice, Day 7-K-Preg

I had a really hard time deciding who was going to win this very last people’s choice award this week.  I’ve written about her before because she’s been there from the beginning, so it’s only right that Kristina wins the award!  She’s better known as K-Preg these days because she’s carrying a bouncing baby boy bun in her oven, but she’s still offering up ideas for me.  I’ve told her several times she should she totally write a blog of her own, but she just keeps making mine better.  Oh well, better for me, and you guys reading.  She never bullies me into her ideas though.  In fact, she wanted me to let you guys know how wrong she thinks bullying is.

Let’s face it, life is tough enough without being bullied.  That’s why movements like It Gets Better are so important these days.  In the past few years the media has exploded with cases of bullying and attacking people for no reason at all.  It all started last year when author Dan Savage and his partner Terry created a You Tube video to let LGBT kids out there know it really does get better.  High school can be a really cruel place, but luckily it doesn’t last forever.  I can’t sit behind my laptop and pretend like I know what it’s like to be bullied, but I do know how rejection feels, and I know I don’t like it.  We have to learn to accept people for who they are and embrace our differences so we can expand our horizons and bridge gaps.  Yea, yea, you’ve heard this all before but what are you doing about it?  When is the last time you talked to a stranger or included that loner at work in your after work drinks?  It’s not enough to just tell our kids it will get better.  We have to be the example that shows them that it really does.  Beatbullying is another great organization with the shared mission of shaping new attitudes and changing old behaviors.  Since BB started back in 1999 they have reached more than 1.6 million children across the United Kingdom.  Bullying prevention programs that are being introduced in schools across the UK will not only reduce bullying and racial and homophobic violence, but increase understanding and the confidence of thousands of kids.  BB also has a CyberMentors program that can reach out through the internet and help a child who’s feeling down anywhere.  It’s so much cooler to build each other than tear everyone down.  Positively affirming others is the new black.  Check out the original “It Gets Better” video.  

It Gets Better Project Donation

BeatBullying Donation

So here’s to you K-Preg!  Even though your baby boy is slowly but surely chipping away at your short-term memory, you never forget to give me suggestions for this little blog.  You’re one of the most thoughtful people I know so it was no surprise that you’re charity suggestion is about edifying others.  Lord knows you’ve built me up plenty over the past ten years of our friendship.  Thank you for making me want to be a better person.

Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 6-Beth

Ah Monday why do you always seem to come around so soon?  Mondays are a struggle for me anyway because I’m bouncing back and forth between campuses and I feel like I’m always busy but getting very little accomplished.  I feel like Mondays I’m always lacking with inspiration and thankful topics to blog about as well.  By the time I get home and we have dinner and do whatever chores we didn’t have time to get done over the weekend I just want to crash.  There are also lots of family farmers out there who are even more tired than I am this evening, and they’ll get up tomorrow and do it all again.  My Mom experienced the hardships and rewards of growing up on a farm, and passed those valuable lessons on to me.

If you’ve been an avid reader of this blog you know that I credit a lot the support and inspiration for this blog to my Mom.  She has been there for me from week 1, day 1, and of course she continued to her trend during people’s choice week.  She was doing some research for a movie this past week and visited Rising Meadow Farm,  where Scott has also sheared the past couple of years.  This little visit swayed her to vote for a post about family farms.  Sustainable Table is part of the bigger organization GRACE, both of which share the mission to increase public awareness about sustainable agriculture.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably heard of sustainable agriculture over the past couple of years.  There are a lot of confusing labels about sustainability out there, but the best way to support this movement is to visit your local farmer!  There are endless reasons to eat locally but the number one reason for a lot of people is that it directly connects them to their community.  ST has great resources for sustainable recipes, farmer’s market locations, and Community Supported Agriculture shares where you pay the farmer directly for delivers of fresh seasonal veggies!  Yummy!  It’s great to support your local farmers, but the American Farmland Trust has been around since 1980 to make sure farm and ranch lands don’t disappear.  AFT also promotes environmental sound farming and works to ensure an economically stable future for farmers and ranchers.  Over the past 21 years they have helped to save more than 3 million acres of land, and saved millions more through sound conservation practices.  AFT also helps us put faces with our food.  The Jones in Connecticut provide strawberries, apples, pumpkins, blueberries, Christmas trees, and wine from their vineyard.  Don’t you want to know who grew your potatoes?  I know I do.

Meet the Jones

GRACE Donation

American Farmland Trust Donation

So here’s to you Beth!  You knew how important it was for us to grow up in rural NC and experience what real farming was like.  Your love for all things grown in a field runs deep, and I know your Daddy would be proud.  It must be in our genes though because I’m feeling the love too.  My green thumb is still germinating but I know who to thank until its ripe thanks to you!

Beth and Elton hanging out of the farm

P.S.  Check out my friend Melissa’s blog all about being Locally Long Island!

Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 5-Jessica

Jessica and her beautiful smile

Well sadly today was our last day in beautiful Canada but we did get to return to our sweet pups and an awesome meal cooked by Mrs. Reaves.  I feel like all we’ve done all weekend is eat but Jen’s mashed potatoes and roasted chicken with vegetables was to die for.  I’ve been thankful for food a lot this weekend, but being able to come home and not have to cook means more than I could ever type!  You’re always so exhausted when you get home and all you want to do is veg out in front of the TV.  Lucky for me, my fellow NCSU and Park Scholar Alum Jessica, suggested that I write about a food shuttle in Raleigh that is near and dear to our hearts.  Perfect combination for today?  I think so.

The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle does this little thing called food rescue, which is such a genius idea.  Have you ever noticed that some restaurants just throw out whatever left overs they have when a certain meal is over.  Well Jill and Maxine decided that was unacceptable.  They also realized that it wasn’t just one restaurant where this was happening so they took action.  Founded in 1989, IFFS firmly believes that nutritious food, that is close to its expiration date but still edible, should be filling up bellies across NC and not landfills.  Hold on to your seats because these numbers I’m about to throw at you are astounding.  In 1989 when they first began IFFS was able to rescue 750 pounds of food.  Pretty good right?  What about if I told you that jus two years ago in 2009 IFFS rescued 6.2 million pounds of food from over 220 donors.  Insane, right?  It’s such a smart idea to collect this perfectly good food that donors need to be removed from their locations anyway.  IFFS really embodies they saying, “Work smarter not harder.”  Another great tradition that comes to mind when pairing NCSU and food is the Krispy Kreme Challenge.  For those of you who have never heard it of it is a race to help raise money for NC Children’s Hospital, but it is no ordinary race.  Starting at the NC State Belltower the participants run an easy two miles down to the local KK and scarf down a dozen doughnuts.  They then proceed to run the two miles back to the Belltower.  Without barfing.  Within an hour.  Sounds like fun right?  Started back in 2004 but a couple of chaps that were also Park Scholars with Jessica and I, the race has grown from 12 to 7,500 in seven short years.  It’s all fun and games but it’s nice to know that all of the proceeds from racing and supporting other racers goes to help seriously ill or injured children who need serious medical attention at NCCH.

Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Donation

Krispy Kreme Challenge Donation

So here’s to you Jessica and all my fellow Parkies!  We were together for four years and made sure we were changing the world in some way.  Now we’ve all gone off on separate paths but it’s nice to know we’re never really too out of touch.  Thank you Jess for reminding me that the Wolfpack that serves together, stays together.


Week 47-People’s Choice, Day 4-Amy & Jen

Day two in Canada is even better than day one.  We were able to see Niagara Falls in the daylight and all the crazy touristyness that surrounds it this morning before heading back to the much more quaint and relaxing Niagara-on-the-Lake.  If you’ve never heard of it, look it up, and you’ll fall in love with it like we have.  It is one of those places everyone needs to visit once in their life.  Okay, now on to the charity superstars of the day.  When Amy and Jen both suggested the Samaritan’s Purse I knew it had to be featured this week.  I was also surprised that it’s taken me 47 weeks to write about it!  They are one of those charities that does so much great work that they probably deserve more than one blog post.  Thank you ladies for nominating this oldie, but certainly a goodie, for this week.

Beautiful Jen and her sweet daughter Fiona

I’m going to be really honest for a minute.  Over the past 11 months that I’ve written this blog I’ve shied away from charities that are religiously affiliated like SP for the simple of reason of not ruffling any feathers.  Today as I am writing this, I am realizing that maybe the whole point of this blog is to get a little messy sometimes.  Why does it matter if SP is a Christ centered organization if they bring so much love and hope to thousands of people?  I’m just here to bring you the facts, and it’s for you to decide if your heart and your wallet are opened up by theses causes.  To me, charity is all about passion and if you follow where your heart leads you then you’ll find yourself exactly where you need to be.  Whew, I feel better, now on to the charities.  Samaritan’s Purse is a non-profit that has been providing physical and spiritual aid to those who are hurting around the world since 1970.  Writing about SP brings me back to my roots because we used to always collect toys, coloring books, crayons, and other fun things to fill a shoeboxes for SP’s Operation Christmas Child.  Even being young I vividly remember feeling sad for the little boys and girls in the world who woke up with Christmas morning with no presents to unwrap.  Even now as an adult I’m fighting back tears to think about those innocent faces that simply want a new pair of socks or school supplies as their gift.  Something as simple as a shoebox filled with items from the dollar store can brighten the spirit of a child for days on end.  Another great SP program that has helped people for over forty years is the World Medical Mission.  Jen specifically said she loved the work SP does in Africa and I have to agree.  WMM provides tons of hospitals in Africa (as well as many other countries) with hospital supplies and essential equipment, as well as arrange assignments for doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals.  SP also works in Africa to provide hope and hearing for the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  Prescription For Hope provides HIV testing, youth prevention education, and international workshops to help educate Africans provide positive ways to talk about a very negative disease.  I have literally just brushed the surface of the work SP does in Africa.  You can check out some of the rest here.

Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Box Donation 

Samaritan’s Purse World Medical Mission Donation

So here’s to you Amy and Jen!  You’re hard-working gals that took a few minutes out of your day to help me fill this week with wonderful charities.  You were also the only two who suggested the same charity, and now we all know why.  Thanks for helping me have my own revelation today, and for giving me a reason to write these words from day-to-day.

Amy loves SP and kittens! 🙂