Ten Ways to Celebrate and Say “Merry Christmas”

Would you please take a look at this top 10 list of suggestions and perhaps one or two of them will speak to you as the holiday season goes into overdrive:

  1. Clean out those drawers, closets, storage units and DONATE now to any of the thrift stores in our area, i.e. Burkburnett Boys and Girls Club, First Step, Faith Mission/Refuge, to name a few.
  1. Help your children clean out their toys. Have them pick good used toys and take them with you when the donation is made to the church nursery, a resale shop, a woman’s shelter, a homeless shelter.  Purchase new toys and take your children with you when you deliver them.
  1. Make your gifts to charitable causes in honor of those on your gift giving list. The charities/nonprofits send you an acknowledgement and also your gift honorees will receive cards telling of your lovely holiday remembrance.
  1. If there’s not much money for gifts this year, how about looking in your cupboards and having kids or grandkids help you take canned goods to your church food pantry or to Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, Grace Ministries, or Interfaith?
  1. Have your kids and/or grandkids go with you to buy big bags of dog food and cat food and then head over to an animal shelter and make the donation.
  1. Take some time to contemplate what really matters in this life—things vs. people. A heartfelt note and a visit to a widow, widower, or shut-in is far more precious than a material item.
  1. Seek out a single parent, a neighbor without close family, a military person and “adopt” them for not only the holiday, but for many holidays.
  1. Spoil the children still at home, in college, and of course, the grandchildren. But, help them learn too.  Instead of filling those stockings, use the amount you usually spend on all the items in the stockings and replace it with a card that tells them what donation you made in their name and for what purpose.  It gives a different feel to the whole evening/morning when their honor is revealed and you talk about blessing an organization that gives tirelessly year in and year out.
  1. There are “Angel Trees” in the vast majority of communities. Take those angels off that tree and become an angel to a child you’ll never know.  Teenage angels are usually the last to go—please consider taking those first.
  1. Don’t forget that Times Charities begins each Thanksgiving and runs through Christmas. This is a charitable endeavor championed by the Times Record News and serves unmet needs through the year for Faith Mission/Refuge, Interfaith, Grace Ministries and Salvation Army.  The Times Charities fund resides at the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation and you can give all year long. 

This year when asked “What do you want for Christmas” a teaching, touching reply could be, “Please donate to one of my favorite charities.”


Earnest Hearts

I have two stories to share about what I’m calling “earnest hearts.”  I heard and/or saw these two stories in the last 24 hours.

Story One

I was making my last minute Halloween candy purchase.  On the aisle next to me I heard…

Voice 1:  My grandma has the kids today. My little girl can’t go back to pre-K until I have

               a doctor’s order stating a medical condition causes her accidents.  

Voice 2:  Well, just get her to the doctor and get the order written.

Voice 1:  How do I get off work to do that and I have to wait until payday.

Voice 2:  Doesn’t their dad help?

Voice 1:  No—just grandma.

Voice 2:  Go to the Community Healthcare Center.  They have a sliding fee scale and a

     pharmacy if your little girl needs medicine. 

Story Two 

I had a 7 a.m. meeting downtown this morning.  I arrived 20 minutes ahead of the building’s doors being unlocked.  I drove around listening to music while I waited.  As I passed a corner streetlight, I saw a mom in a fast food uniform pushing two small children in a plastic wagon.  Both of the babies had to be under 3 years old.  I drove a couple of blocks and then decided I would turn around and give them a ride.  After rounding the corner, I saw her taking the two children into the daycare center.  I bet after she came out of the daycare center she was walking to her job.

Two women with children– both I bet have earnest hearts.  Hearts for their children and hearts that know work is needed to be able to provide.  How can I help?  I can donate to Community Healthcare Center and Child Care, Inc. so moms and dads who get up each day and get to work either by feet, bicycle, or car can have a safe place to take their children for daycare and a sliding fee scale clinic when that is needed for their babies.  One can’t possibly know the stories of each child or parent.  One can know that it takes earnest hearts to help make children’s lives better…and sometimes that means making the parents’ lives better.   

 #earnestheartsinwichitafalls    #wfacf   www.wfacf.org   940-766-0829    


Dogs, Dolphins, and Differences

On a recent beach vacation, the opportunity presented itself to go on a dolphin cruise.  I’m glad I was part of the trio of friends who embarked on this adventure.

As we got onboard, our captain asked what we wanted the 4 hours to be—snorkel, dolphins, shells, or swimming?  We picked dolphins and shells.  As we sped away from land, the search for dolphins was first on the list.  There was the occasional sea turtle and some fish in that turquoise see-through water. 

When we happened on a fisherman with two dogs in his boat, it was apparent something was in the water because spotted dog would not stop jumping around and barking over the edge of the boat.  Our boat stopped and we watched as the dolphin would jump up to the side of the fisherman’s boat.  After about three jumps up, the dolphin stayed up, the dog came to the boat’s edge and licked the dolphin on his spout/nose or whatever that pointed part of the dolphin is called.  The dolphin swam quickly around the fisherman’s boat and came back up to visit his new friend.  The dog again licked the dolphin.  Dolphin had some happy moves as he swam fast and came a bit closer to our boat. Just as quick as he said hi to us, he was back over to see the dog.

Dogs and dolphins sure look different.  Dogs and dolphins have very different living arrangements.  Dogs and dolphins probably have very different food sources.  With all those differences, the world stood still long enough for our trio to watch the dog and the dolphin look at one another, have some fun, and even give a warm hello. 

With all the differences in the world today among people of all walks, maybe we could learn something from the dog and the dolphin and perhaps learn from our differences.  

#wedidfindshells                 #taketimetolearn             #wfacf 940-766-0829


Times Charities 2017

Times Charities was formed more than 25 years ago by a group of area philanthropists who wanted to find a way to help those less fortunate. Times Charities initially established its own non-profit and later initiated a fund at the Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation. Since 2010, Times Charities Fund has begun its holiday season as part of the Wichita Falls Area Community.

Donations to the Times Charities Fund help three partners: Faith Mission/Faith Refuge, The Salvation Army,  and Interfaith Outreach Services in Wichita Falls and Burkburnett’s Grace Ministries. Overhead expenses are not paid from donations.

The Times Charities funding requests are verified for need before grants to the partners are dispensed. Those seeking help at Faith Mission/Faith Refuge, the Salvation Army, Interfaith Outreach Services, and Burkburnett’s Grace Ministries are blessed with loving care from donations made to Times Charities Fund.

Donations can be made in the form of cash, checks, debit/credit cards, and appreciated stock.

MAIL: Times Charities/WFACF, 2405 Kell Blvd, Ste. 100, Wichita Falls, TX 76308
ONLINE: Click here to donate online
PHONE: 940-766-0829 and we’ll take your debit /credit card information
APPRECIATED STOCK: 940-766-0829 for wiring instructions

The annual fund drive starts Thanksgiving Day and ends Christmas Day. The annual fund drive donors will be showcased each day of the drive in the Times Record News (TRN). Additionally, there is a daily story about the needs and the people served from Times Charities during the year. Donations during the fund drive come at the “giving time of the year.” Gifts to Times Charities are not limited to just this short span of time. If you so choose, donations can also be made throughout the year.

Questions:  TRN 940-720-3490 or WFACF 940-766-0829


Being Outdoors

 

Growing up in the country with a houseful of siblings and lots of cousins on both sides of the family was fun.  God only knows how we escaped major bodily injuries when I think back on all the antics, e.g. walking across the log that had fallen over the rising creek, tearing up the beaver dams, swimming in the creek after having dropped from the grapevine, jumping from the hay loft onto the barn floor, the list goes on!

What made me think of this today?  I went by a school during lunch time and there weren’t children out playing.  It’s 80 degrees, sun is shining brightly—where were the children?  Was it too early, too late, too muddy (it’s been raining)? 

What I know is that kids and adults need outdoors in large doses.  I believe that when there is rain and mud then it’s a great time for mud pies.  I recently bought granddaughter sidewalk paints—were those for her or me?    Colored toothpicks were always on the shelf at my house—everyone needs to have toothpick races on a rainy day.  When there is sand or water, my toes need to be in the sand and the water beckons every minute I’m around it.

I hope recess is still a great part of school, that outdoor play helps make up each child’s life, and adults never lose their kid part that needs outdoors.

#outdoors    #wfacf  www.wfacf.org  940-766-0829


Hearts and HOPE

 

I saw a sign once that read, “When you become a mother, your heart moves outside your body and you are never the same.”  I am writing this from a mother’s perspective and want to be sensitive to all the fathers out there.  I can’t write this from a father’s perspective but I’d imagine there are a great many similarities.  I know that my heart lives with my three children, the spouses who helped bring my three grandchildren’s hearts to life, and the “growing too fast” grandchildren.

I am friends with several mothers who have lost children way too soon in their children’s young lives.  My heart hurts for these mothers each year when a birthday or other special days come around bringing with those days a flood of feelings, perhaps a bit more healing, and a lot of memories. 

I do not know the mother of #24Strong Robert Grays.  I cannot begin to feel what she is feeling right now upon losing her son at age 19 because of an injury that occurred during a college football game last Saturday 9/16/17.

I only know what this mother feels for Robert’s mother and all the mothers who have lost children.  I feel sad, sympathetic, empathic, loving, and hopeful.  My heart is heavy for Robert’s entire family.  My heart is sad for the University that I love.  My heart is sympathetic and empathetic to Robert’s fellow football team, classmates, professors, administrators who have the charge to carry on and be hopeful for better days to come—never forgetting Robert—but being better for having known this young man and all he represented. 

Each day of any of our lives is truly a gift. Love every day.  Hug your babies, no matter their ages.  Hug your babies’ babies.  When given the gift of life, cherish all the moments and fill each day with hope for tomorrow.

#24Strong  #MSUtexas   #mothershearts


Stronger Now Because of You

 

Last Thursday, September 7, 2017, the second annual Texoma Gives was held to benefit 200 nonprofits in 11 counties in Northern Texas and Southern Oklahoma.  The results were outstanding.  While the world watched Harvey’s devastation, the wildfires raging in the northwest, and Irma approaching the Eastern United States, one could hardly think of anything else.  However, donors knew the value nonprofits’ have in their communities and turned out in large numbers to donate.

Here are the numbers:  $868,483 in total donations and cash prizes to nonprofits; 4,362 donations made; all 200 of the participating nonprofits received donations; 91% of the donations were made online; donations came from 39 states and from 11 countries.  Thank you for believing in nonprofits.

It is in times of disaster and great need that nonprofits’ value to a community can be clearly demonstrated and observed by many.  Strong nonprofits make communities stronger and a better place in which to live and work.  In my years of recruiting professionals, I always talked about nonprofits.  For children there are camps led by nonprofits and activities such as Boy Scouts, Campfire, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, Youth Symphony, Ballet, Community Theatre.  The social amenities brought to a community by nonprofits are many–ballet, arts organizations, theatre, symphony.  Add to all those the  places such as a nature center, animal rescue, environment, food pantries, senior centers, counseling centers, the list goes on and on.  There is great economic impact in the collection of nonprofits in any given area. 

Texoma Gives 2018 hopes to be even bigger. I sure hope that on September 6, 2018, where ever you are that you’ll log on to www.texomagives.org and donate to a favorite nonprofit participating in 2018 Texoma Gives Day.  Questions about Wichita Falls Area Community Foundation, Burkburnett Legacy Foundation, Texoma Gives?  wfacf@wfacf.org 940-766-0829  #wfacf #texomagives


TG = Thanking God OR Total Gratitude OR Thousands of Givers OR Texoma Gives

                                                      OR  All of the Above

 

TODAY is the day!  It’s here!  Texoma Gives 2017.  A 16 hour day of on-line giving for 200 nonprofits registered to participate.  www.texomagives.org awaits your click of the keyboard to go online and donate!

Goals for Texoma Gives 2017 are as follows:

200 nonprofits participating      check

$1,000,000 raised in 16 hours  HOPE we’re saying check at 10:15pm on 9/7/17

Donations from all 50 states      FINGERS CROSSED that we say check

2016 results looked like this:

146 nonprofits participated

$750,000 raised in 16 hours

Donations from 38 states

We can do this together, Texoma!  Thanking God with Total Gratitude for having Thousands of Givers making nonprofits stronger on Texoma Gives Day 9/7/17.

 

#texomagives    #wfacf   www.texomagives.org   940-766-0829


SEVEN DAYS

Texoma Gives—day of online giving—is here in SEVEN days!  Texoma Gives is September 7, 2017.  More sevens!  Maybe this is a good sign that seven times more donations will be made than were made in 2016.  Our 2017 goal for donations made online is 6,000…why not make that 7,000?

When your fingers click on www.texomagives.org at 6am on 9/7/17, here’s hoping that you’ll find nonprofit organizations to which you will donate.  Donating to one is good.  Imagine donating to SEVEN nonprofits.  At a minimum of $25 donation, that would be $175.  There’s something to these sevens.

As you donate on 9/7/17, can you picture the smiles and happy high five’s that nonprofit employees are expressing because generous people are donating and honoring them for the nonprofit’s work.  Donate at www.texomagives.org to a nonprofit that helps in these ways: Kids will get food for the weekend, pets will be adopted, seniors and shut-in’s will get home delivered meals, children will get a court-appointed advocate, Lawton and Graham’s United Way partner agencies will get needed program dollars, hospital or college foundations will get needed dollars for recruiting and scholarships, the list is endless.

Today as we watch the countless thousands affected by Hurricane Harvey, one truly can see the impact nonprofits have in communities during times of tragedy and disaster. STRONG NONPROFITS make communities stronger and make a difference every single day.  Let’s make our Texoma Gives nonprofits stronger on 9/7/17.

Blessing to you seven times over when you donate to a participating nonprofit on 9/7/17 from 6am to 10pm.  www.texomagives.org

#texomagives  #wfacf  #strongnonprofits    www.wfacf.org  940—766-0829


Total Eclipse

There were no eclipse glasses to be had on my quest to purchase them late in the eclipse mania.  Never fear…on the day of the eclipse, I look out my office window across the parking lot at a group sharing some glasses to get a glimpse of the moon covering the sun. 

Not bashful, I walked across the parking lot and asked if I could use their glasses for a bit and see the wonder in the sky.  I thanked them and walked back to my office.  I shared with office mate that glasses were available across the lot and she too had the joy of seeing the black/orange happening with the generously shared glasses.

On the NASA feed, the sun looked to have a red ring around it.  Wouldn’t it be surreal if that red ring was anger at the moon for blocking the sun’s glory.  Yes—there is something scientific I’m sure, yet that got me to thinking on a Monday about what I was writing on Thursday. 

When our brightness is blocked out, do we get a red ring around us filled with emotions? If the red ring does happen, I hope it’s like the eclipse—the bright was darkened for only two minutes out of a 24 hour day and the beauty and glory returned without a red ring.  Look up, smile, and be filled with gratitude for each day enjoyed on this great earth!

#safetyviewingglasses  #wfacf  #thinkingonthursdays    www.wfacf.org  940—766-0829