It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: basics

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 7-Money

Even though I hate to admit it money is a basic of life.  It’s how we buy groceries, live in our houses, drive our cars, and give back to our favorite charities.  And even though it may be the root of all evil, it sure is a heck of a lot better than carrying around clams to trade.  Sure, there are a lot of things you can do in this life without money but you can do even more with it.  We had a great meeting today with a financial adviser about our planning for our future, including our retirement which was really obscure to think about, but it made me realize how thankful I am for money.  Even when all we have is cents and not dollars, it’s a good day.

Even though I wouldn’t recommend gambling your hard-earned dough, Ante Up For Africa is a great way to wet your poker whistle.  Founded by Don Cheadle, Annie Duke, and Norman Epstein founded this non-profit and poker tournament to help raise not only money, but also awareness for Africans in need.  AUFA helps support organizations that are making a tangible effect on the ground in Africa.  Refugees International, Enough Project, and Darfur Peace and Development are the charities that benefit from half the winnings of the celebrity poker players.  Since it began in 2006 AUFA has helped to raise over $3 million to fund its quest to find a permanent end to conflicts like those happening in Africa.  AUFA believes that solutions are possible, but it takes moola to make them happen.  Over 300,000 innocent people have died in Darfur.  That just goes to show you that a little pocket change can make a big difference.  Robin Quivers of The Howard Stern Show is no stranger to money, or giving it to worthy causes.  As the founder of the 15 Foundation, she knew she wanted her radio talk-show earned money to go to causes that are really making a difference.  Even though 15 only began in March of 2010, they have raised over $150,000 in that short time.  I love 15 because we share a common goal; to spread the word and support the charities out there in the trenches getting life-changing work done.  It can be easy to forget that it’s always possible to have too many Chiefs and never possible enough to have too many Indians.  There is nothing more basic than getting behind the charities you believe in and donating your bones to them.

Ante Up For Africa Donation

15 Foundation Donation

So here’s to you money!  There’s really only one thing left to say, give big or go home.

Did somebody say give big?

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 6-Wheel

The invention of the wheel changed the course of man forever.  It’s the reason we can drive to work, get some much-needed exercise on our bicycles, and mow our grass during the summer.  This came to my attention today as I pushed our hand-me-down lawnmower up and down our little side yard.  One wheel is extremely wobbly and therefore basically useless.  Instead of being angry because I had a bum wheel to deal with, I refocused my thinking and became thankful for other three perfectly good wheels.  It’s all how you spin it.  Pun intended.

I have never had to use a wheelchair, other than for recreational purposes, anytime during my short life.  Even though I had quite a bit of fun playing around, Wheels For Humanity isn’t kidding around about getting refurbished wheelchairs to those in need.  Founded in 1995 WFH comes from humble beginnings out of a garage in California, where they were able to donate 130 wheelchairs to people in Guatemala during their very first year.  WFH is providing disabled individuals around the world with mobility, self-sufficiency, and education no matter what religion or race they may be.  WFH also makes sure that each wheelchair is specially fitted to each new owner by healthcare professionals who have graciously volunteered their time to this great cause.  Over 50,000 people in 68 different developing nations have been given the ride of their life all because of WFH.  Oh and don’t hassle the Hoff about this charity because he’s a huge fan.  Most people think that the two wheels on motorcycles put lives at risk, but the non-profit Riders For Health actually need those wheels to save lives in Africa.  RFH is working hard to make sure that all health care workers in Africa have access to reliable transportation so they are able to reach isolated patients with regular treatment.  RFH trains drivers and riders who deliver assistance to patients, perform regular maintenance on vehicles used, make sure parts are available for repairs, and accurately calculate the cost of running the fleet of vehicles.  We could donate all the drugs in the world to help those who are sick, but if there is no way for them to be delivered to the sick then this problem will never be solved.  Vehicles and the harsh climate of the African deserts do not mix, but over the past 20 years RFH has created an effective system for managing these rugged vehicles.  Gives a totally new meaning to ride or die huh?

Wheels For Humanity Donation

Riders For Health Donation

So here’s to you wheels!  You’re there for us when we need to scoot around town or just skate down the street.  Sometimes you are made of cheese and other times of color.  You have stood the test of time, and I think I speak for all of us when I say, thank you for teaching us how to rock and roll.

Rock and Roll Wheel!

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 5-Beans

Billions of beans

You guys remember that fun little diddy you used to sing back in elementary school, “Beans, beans, they’re good for you heart.  The more you eat the more you fart.  The more you fart the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal!”?  I know you do.  We weren’t really allowed to sing it in front of company but it still puts a smile on my face to this day.  The bean soup we had for dinner also put a big smile on my face and in my tummy.  Beans really are great because there are so many varieties, they go with everything, they’re a great source of protein, and they’re cheap!  Beans are a basic and a staple when it comes to food for everyone around the world.  Thanks beans!

Eating beans is great, but a being a part of BEAN is even better.  BEAN was founded back in 2003 in Seattle Washington to encourage young professionals to form friendships around charitable causes.  BEAN brings young people together and gets them to have fun while they give back to their communities.  Over the past eight years they have grown from one chapter to 22 chapters across the globe with over 10,000 members.  BEAN members can get together to volunteer at the local food shelter or play a little friendly game of softball.  All BEAN members unite in devoting their time to the two main annual initiatives: Think Global Act Local (TGAL) and the Scholarship campaign.  Over $75,000 has been raised by TGAL campaigns to help fight serious issues like AIDS orphans, clean water, and child soldiers.  Oh, you don’t see a BEAN chapter in your area?  Well you may be just the person to start a new chapter in your area!  You may not give a hill a beans about making random friends, but you may want to give a hill of beans to a family in need.  Literally.  Oxfam America Unwrapped lets you buy tangible gifts for those who are living in poverty.  You can open a can of worms, give someone crabs (the edible kind), give someone a camel, or save a lake.  You pick the gift, Oxfam sends a card to the person you choose, and you help save a life.  Just think about how excited your best friend will be when you give her an Alpaca meadow instead of a stupid ‘ole CD again for her birthday!  Oxfam is a great charity that is working in the United States and more than 90 other countries to spread the wealth and end hunger, poverty, and injustice.  It’s a tall order but somebody’s gotta do it.

Join BEAN!

Buy a gift from Oxfam America Unwrapped

So here’s to you beans!  You are green, black, and some of you are even in the navy.  You are found in cultures all around the world and you are a chef’s best friend.  You were magic for a little boy named Jack, and somebody had the bright idea to make you out of jelly!  Beans, beans, they’re good for the Earth!  The more you give the more they’re worth!

I need these beans!

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 4-Time

Sweet Saturday is finally here!  My favorite thing about the weekend is the time you get to catch up on all the things you were either too lazy or too tired to get done during the week.  Time is another one of the very basic things in life that we have taken for granted at some point in our lives.  Let’s face it, the time we have here as we know it is seriously limited.  We go through life like everyday is promised to us when in reality we should be thankful for every sunrise and sunset we are lucky enough to see.  The other tricky thing about time is that we have to pick and choose how we spend it.  There are only 24 hours in a day and what we make of them is up to us.  You’ve heard this a million times, but sometimes a friendly reminder is exactly what we all need.

As humans it’s only natural for us to try to plan out the best time for us to buy a house, switch careers, or have a baby.  The truth is, there is no good time, but there’s also no time like the present.  A Time To Help is a Detroit based charity that knows how to make the most of each day.  ATTH was founded in 1997 by Mitch Albom, the author of Tuesday with Morrie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven, to help the people of Detroit volunteer on a regular basis.  They have had over 100 successful monthly projects that have ranged from building houses to packing food and running adoption fairs.  Albom also founded S.A.Y. (Super All Year) Detroit in 2006 to fund projects to help those who are homeless in Detroit.  Albom even spent the night in a homeless shelter to raise awareness about the charity, and he was able to bring in over $35,000 in donations in less than two weeks.  See, even famous writers can volunteer their time for good.  Famous rappers like Master P and his son Romeo like to volunteer their time to the non-profit It’s Time KidsITK is helping inner-city kids realize that it’s time to “fatten our brains and not our bodies.”  They have programs to help kids focus on the three “E’s”: education, eat right, and exercise, as well as prepare our children mentally and physically to be the leaders of tomorrow.  They even give a great visual guide for parents on how to get their kids the nutrition they need throughout the day.  ITK also has some fun games on their website so kids can learn and play at the same time.  You always hear people say time is money, but I really think time is charity.

S.A.Y. Detroit Donation

It’s Time Kids Donation

So here’s to you time!  There never seems to be enough of you in the day, and we always wish we could turn back your hands.  You’re so popular you even have a magazine named after you.  We can’t stop you and you seem to fly when we’re having fun, but you are most definitely of the essence when giving is concerned.

Oh look, it's give o'clock!

Week 30-Back to Basics, Day 3-Safety

I was sitting on my couch thinking about all the basic things in my life that I’m thankful for, and I realized that I’ve already written about a lot of them.  Food, water, clothes, the internet, the list goes on and on, but I was forgetting one very important thing.  Safety.  I have taken that one for granted since birth.  I have always lived in very safe places and can honestly say I have been in very few situations where I felt unsafe.  I wish everyone could say that, but I know that’s not anywhere close to true.  It’s so easy to forget about all the good things we have in our lives that can’t be displayed, worn, or eaten.

Good tip to remember

The Child Safety Network has been making American a safer place for children since 1989.  They are determined to reduce the incidence of child abduction, abuse, exploitation, and injury.  CSN works with local, state and federal agencies to implement their educational safety programs worldwide.  CSN helps parents stay abreast of what products are being recalled, and what new products can make their lives easier and their children’s lives safer.  CSN also has the PG Key to help parents protect their kids from all the not so child friendly things lurking on the internet.  CSN also has the support of over 250 U.S. representatives and some pretty cool celebrities like Hillary Duff, Celine Dion, and Tony Danza.  We all know that our children are our future, so we need to be sure and protect them to the fullest.  Another place where we can take safety for granted is on the road.  RADD (formerly known as Recording Artists, Actors, Actors, and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) is better known today as “The Entertainment Industry’s Voice for Road Safety”, is dedicated to saving lives and reducing road injuries through entertainment.  RADD was founded back in 1986 on non-judgmental, cool, and positive messages.  They advocate the use of designated drivers, seatbelts, safe driving, and making responsible behavior the rule not the exception.  Obviously they are doing something right because they are the proud two-time recipient of the US Department of Transportation’s prestigious Public Service Award.  So put down those adult beverages and those cell phones and just drive!

Child Safety Network Donation

RADD Donation

So here’s to you safety!  You’re that feeling we get when someone we trust wraps their arms around us.  You’re that blanket we’ve grown up with, and the night-light we still sleep with (shh don’t tell anyone).  You should always come first, occasionally you come in numbers, and there are even goggles who take after you.  Thank you for protecting us in more ways than we can count.