Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: California

Week 22-California!, Day 7-Beach

On this gorgeous last vacation day we decided it was high time we went to the beach.  So we put on our bathing suits, grabbed a couple of towels, and went down to Oceanside, CA.  We really couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, but we could have asked for some warmer water.  Seriously it was numbingly cold, but since that was our biggest complaint, I think we had plenty to be thankful for.  There were plenty of other people enjoying the beach with their kids, or on their surf boards, or even just laying under their umbrella reading a book.  The beach is another place where I feel like a kid all over again, and I can never get enough of that feeling.

Our gorgeous view today

It’s obviously really important to know how to swim if you’re venturing out in an ocean, but thankfully for back up there are charities like the Royal National Lifeboat Institution that is constantly working to save lives at sea.  The RNLI has over 230 lifeboat stations and over 100 lifeguards on the beaches of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts.  They may sound a lot like the Coast Guard, but they are staffed by all volunteers and depends on donations and legacy gifts in order to operate.  Founded way back in 1824 the RNLI has saved over 137,000 lives.  I knew Will and Kate weren’t the only good things the UK had to offer.  Being at the beach today also reminded me how badly I still want to learn to surf.  Surfer’s Healing is a very unique non-profit that uses the therapy that surfing provides to help children with autism.  SH was founded by a couple whose child was diagnosed with autism at age 3, and noticed that the ocean provided a real sense of relief and calm for their son in world of sensory overload.  They had the idea to go surfing together on the same board, and the parents saw a truly remarkable change in their son that they wanted to share with others.  Today SH reaches countless children through surfing.  Who would thunk it?  Not me, but I love it.

Royal National Lifeboat Institution Donation

Surfer’s Healing Donation

So here’s to you beach!  You give us a place to lay out, swim, and forget all our worries.  We can relax with you while we’ve got a drink in our hand and our toes in the sand.  You always seem to have the best sunsets and the coolest breezes.   You truly are one of my very favorite places, and visiting you as often as I can, in as many different places as I can, makes me a happy girl.

Palm trees? Don't mind if I do

Week 22-California!, Day 6-San Diego Zoo

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Guess what I got to see today?  No, not lions and tigers and bears.  More like baby giraffes, polar bears, and PANDAS!!!  This was my very first trip to the San Diego Zoo and my very first time ever seeing pandas in my entire life.  Both were well worth the wait.  K and I ventured out on this beautiful Monday morning to soak up some sun, get a little exercise, and see some fun animals.  Why does going back to the zoo as an adult always make you feel like a little kid again?  Being able to be that close to gorillas, fossas, and koala bears will never get old to me.  Thankfully places like the San Diego Zoo thrive off of donations from people like you and me and help us teach us to be young all over again.

There are so many great things about the San Diego Zoo that it’s hard to put into words how great it is.  I could go on and on about all the animals we saw today, but I’d rather tell you about all the really cool options you have to give back to the SD Zoo.  You can adopt an animals like a giant panda, polar bear, african elephant, or a cheetah.  You also have the option to fund new exhibits for the animals.  Seriously how cool would it be to walk into an exhibit an know that you are a part of building it.  If you live in the SD area you have the option of becoming a member of zoo, and being able to go whenever yo want.  SDZ also puts on these really great events like Walk on the Wild Side and Celebration for Critters which lets you eat, drink and be merry for a great cause!  I mean we all gotta eat at least a couple of times a day so helping animals out when we do is a win, win.  Giving back to a zoo is so important because it is really what keeps them operating from day to day.  So pick your favorite way and give to your little heart’s desire!

San Diego Zoo Donation

So here’s to you San Diego Zoo! You welcomed us with open arms to your beautiful grounds and made us feel right at home. The animals that live in you are unique and gorgeous beyond words. Thank you for helping us remember that at one time or another we all wanted to be a veterinarian when we grew up.

Week 22-California!, Day 5-Family Dinner

Eat up!

For a lot of families out there Sundays are all about spending time together.  K wanted me to be sure and let you guys know that her family was doing Sunday night family dinner way before the Jersey Shore kids.  It’s a time to catch up on what happened that week, eat some good food, and remember how important your family is.  It’s just what you do.  My family, even though much smaller than K’s, had the same rule.  Well sort of.  We had to be home for dinner every weekday no matter what.  All of my friends used to think it was so stupid, but I am so thankful for all that time we spent together.  If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the thread that keeps the family sewn together is family dinner.

Everybody likes to eat, but not everyone can get out to buy groceries to make a meal.  Meals on Wheels has been working since 1976 to provide meals and end hunger to the senior population in America.  There are over 6 million seniors who are facing the threat of hunger on a daily basis.  MOW is also in the business of making sure mothers feel special on Mother’s Day even if that aren’t able to leave their homes.  Starting last year MOW starting collecting e-cards and greeting cards and distributing them alongside meals on that special day honoring moms.  What a great way to make someone you may have never even met feel so special.  Wholesome Wave believes in nourishing communities and teaching Americans that what you eat is just as important as remembering to eat.  WW has great programs like the Double Value Coupon Program which doubles the value of federal food stamps when they are used at local participating farmer’s markets.  In a day and age when 34% of American children and teenage are overweight or obese it is a very important issue.  The key to solving this epidemic is increasing access and production of fresh, healthy, and affordable locally grown food.  Get it Wholesome Wave!

Meals on Wheels Donation

Wholesome Wave Donation

So here’s to you family dinner!  You bring lots of people together every Sunday or every night.  You can be fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy or meatballs, pasta, and caesar salad.  You are the time when we hear about all the home runs hit in the baseball games and the A’s made on all the spelling tests.  You keep us all grounded and remember to be thankful for great food, great times, and great family.

Week 22-California!, Day 4-Mercedes

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Let’s just discuss all the incredibly awesome things that have happened to me in the past 24 hours.  I had my very first experience at Ruth’s Chris steak house, I bought some sweet new kicks, I got to hear some very funny stories, and I got to ride in the most pimp car I’ve been in ever.  This Mercedes has everything from the sweet rims to the blacked out windows so we truly felt like movie stars.  It also rides like an absolute dream.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever own a Mercedes at any point in my life but I sure am thankful that I had the chance to ride in one this week.  The people I get to ride around with are really what makes the experience unforgettable.

I don’t know how many of you out there watch America’s Next Top Model, but on the second season (or cycle as Tyra as coined it) there was a contestant named Mercedes who was also battling lupus.  Watching her tell the other girls that she had this autoimmune disease was really inspiring, and even today she continues to work the Lupus Foundation of America.  There are many kinds of lupus and it affects everyone a little differently and, like a lot of other autoimmune diseases,  it is treatable but there is still no cure.  Over 1.5 million people in America alone suffer from some form of lupus.  The research conducted by the LFA is vital in discovering the causes and potential cures for this terrible disease.  Another devastating autoimmune disease is HIV/AIDS.  A few years back, tons of celebrities came together to sign a Mercedes-Benz C350 to be auctioned off to benefit Nelson Mandela’s charity, 46664, which raises global awareness about HIV/AIDS.  The charity takes its name from the prison number Mandela was assigned during his incarceration in South Africa.  46664 utilized fun and unique events like live concerts and other music related events.  I’m sorry but if Nelson Mandela doesn’t inspire you to get out and change the world then nobody will.

Lupus Foundation of America Donation

46664 Donation

So here’s to you Mercedes!  You are the epitome of luxury and style.  You are loved by celebrities, professional athletes, and regular Joes.  You come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but you always deliver top of the line quality.  Thanks for showing me it’s great to have nice things, but they mean nothing if you can’t share them with people you love.

Week 22-California! Day 1-Sunshine

This week is all about the beautiful state of California because I am here for vacation!  Luckily I have a beautiful best friend with a fabulous, and generous family that welcome us whenever we need a little girl’s get away.  This is the third time I’ve been lucky enough to come to San Diego with K and the beauty still amazes me.  The weather is perfect, the houses are out of a movie, and this list of things to do are endless.  I’m also pretty sure that the sun loves it here, because it hardly ever leaves.  After being a rain-induced comma in WV the sun was sight for sore eyes.  I am so thankful for the sunshine in the sky and in my heart from quality time with quality people.

Sunshine does a pretty good job at warming my heart, but it does a really good job and warming houses, schools, and hospitals.  SolarAid is working to bring clean, renewable energy to the poorest people in the world by installing solar panels.  Clinics, schools, and community centers in remote areas of South and Eastern Africa are now benefiting and thriving from solar power due to SA.  Africa is a perfect place to harness solar energy because many regions receive the highest levels of sunshine in the world!  Even though it’s hard to believe after today, they eve have San Diego beat.  They have also started Sunny Schools in London which is a program that is educating children on the issues of climate change and solar power on a global level.  If we don’t teach our children about it now there will be no one to lead us into the future.  The Solar Electric Light Fundis right there with SA working hard to provided energy to the developing world.  They stand behind their belief that energy is a human right.  Their projects help to provide power for pumping water, drip irrigation, homes, street lights, and wireless internet.  Founded over 20 years ago in 1990, SELF empowers people and communities to become active participants in the installation of the solar power systems.  Both village men and women are trained to install, maintain, and repair the systems that are installed.  Talk about being SELF sufficient.

Such power in a small package.

SolarAid Donation

Solar Electric Light Fund Donation

So here’s to you sunshine!  You are my only sunshine, and you definitely make me happy when skies are gray.  I think you know how much I love you, so please don’t take my sunshiney vacation away.  I promise I’ll bask in you and be thankful for all the energy you are providing for people around the world.  I have a feeling this week is going to be filled with bright, bright, bright sunny days.