I AM FUEL, YOU ARE FRIENDS

...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

I know, I know. Christmas is over. Trees are dropping their needles at an alarming rate, I've made a clean sweep of several bags of wrapping paper, and I'm thinkin' about taking the Christmas kitsch down.

My Christmas was fulfilling and, surprisingly, largely music-gift free -- unless you count the singing frog toy (from an elderly relative) that squawks that "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" song when you squeeze its foot. Other than that . . .

As I sit bloated in excess, and enjoying the extra bit of cash I have now lining my pocket, one thing that always deeply touches me every year is to sit down and read the World Vision Gift Catalog. I see what a difference I could make in a very, very real and immediate way in someone's life with just a little bit of the resources that I am so blessed with. There are some really cool ideas contained within these pages. So yes, allow me to get a little Sally Struthers on you for a minute, and use this blog for a bit of good - here are some ideas of worthy final resting places for your end-of-the-year largesse:


Provide a goat
The early-morning bleating of a dairy goat is a happy sound for children in countries like Haiti and Kenya. They know it’s ready to be milked! A goat nourishes a family with fresh milk, cheese, and yogurt, and can offer a much-needed income boost by providing offspring and extra dairy products for sale at the market. It even provides fertilizer that can dramatically increase crop yields. A perennial favorite, both to give and receive!
[$75 - give]


Change a child's life through music education
Music instruction can be life-changing for a child — cultivating his or her ability to learn, fostering emotional development, and allowing an expression of inborn creativity. For children with troubled backgrounds or impoverished living conditions, it is especially beneficial. Your gift provides training and musical instruments such as guitars, xylophones, and keyboards to benefit children in need in countries like Indonesia, El Salvador, and Mozambique.
[$20 - give]


Warm woolen blanket
Even in warm-weather climates, nights can be chilly, especially at higher elevations. Show your love by wrapping a child, expectant mother, AIDS patient, or elderly person in a clean, durable wool blanket for a cozy night’s sleep.
[$30 - give]



Small business loan for an impoverished woman
Put strength in the hands of an impoverished woman with a small loan she can use to start or expand a business — the income from which can help feed, clothe, and educate her children. As loans are repaid to World Vision’s WILFund (Women’s International Loan Fund), the funds are used to provide new loans to others. Your gift today can be recycled to literally hundreds of women in years to come!
[$100 - give]


Help pay for a much-needed eye surgery
Imagine being kept out of school, or shunned by your peers, for having crossed eyes — or trying to care for young children without being able to see well. Your gift, in partnership with a nonprofit eye clinic in Azerbaijan, can provide surgery for children suffering from seriously impaired vision. Or, it can resolve common yet debilitating vision problems for a Zimbabwean grandparent caring for children who have lost parents to AIDS.
[$20 - give]


The gift of play: Soccer balls
Playtime is an essential part of childhood, but many impoverished children have never even seen a real toy. Your gift of a soccer ball will replace rounded wads of trash and banana leaf balls for an energetic boy or girl. And with a generous match from Baden Sports, your gift gives two brand-new balls instead of just one!
[$16 - give]


BROWSE OTHER LIFE-CHANGING GIFTS



Wait for it . . .




We Are The World - U.S.A. For Africa
(man alive, that brings back some serious mid-'80s memories for me! You know it makes you want to sway back and forth with one hand over your ear -like holding a headphone- and wail like Tina Turner)

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14 Comments:

At December 28, 2006 10:35 AM, Blogger Gary Wood said...

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:5-6.

It looks like to me that you know what Christmas is all about. God bless you.

 
At December 28, 2006 12:15 PM, Anonymous Josh said...

I completely understand about the paolo nutini show, thanks anyway. And thanks for all the other great music.

 
At December 28, 2006 5:57 PM, Anonymous russell said...

Top post - the smile train charity is also a brilliant idea and one to connect with for its life changing properties.

 
At December 28, 2006 8:57 PM, Anonymous jennings said...

Of course, this is why I feel compelled to state that you rock . . . .

 
At December 29, 2006 1:57 AM, Blogger Emmie said...

Yes this is what Christmas is all about. This is the way it should be. Then we'd have a better world. I loved that song. Thank you for the post, I'll keep World Vision in mind from now.

 
At December 29, 2006 9:39 AM, Blogger Greg said...

Excellent reminder of the obligation our affluence brings. May I put in a plug for another very worthwhile endeavor that I contribute to? Heifer International: http://www.heifer.org/. Thanks Heather and have a very Happy New Year!

 
At December 29, 2006 9:45 AM, Blogger heather said...

Thanks russell and Greg for the other worthwhile ideas!

 
At December 29, 2006 11:27 AM, Anonymous Callie said...

http://www.kiva.org is another good one. You can donate to a microlending program that provedes loans to people to start projects/businesses in poor countries. You even get your donated money back and can re-lend it if you'd like!

 
At December 29, 2006 5:41 PM, Blogger c said...

awesome post. in addition to all of these worthy charitable options, i would also encourage people to look at the issue from a social justice perspective, and consider signing on with oxfam or the one campaign.

ps - i knew i should have bought you that goat for Christmas. (it even provides fertilizer!)

 
At December 29, 2006 8:06 PM, Blogger Matt said...

That is really awesome. It's good to see a blogger making such a worthwhile post. And World Vision is an awesome org, too. Kudos. I knew I put you on my blogroll for a reason. :)

 
At December 30, 2006 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

now i know what to do with the 100 clams i found on the street last week. thanks for all the music you expose the world to. you rock fuel!

 
At December 30, 2006 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's about a pagan festival taken over by the Roman Catholic church.

Perhap's it would be better to remember that when Christ comes again he will not be a little baby, but God on a mission to destroy the world and take his people away with him.

Which side will everyone be on?
That is the only real question in life.

 
At January 01, 2007 8:05 AM, Blogger HCJoel said...

To the last poster... Read your Bible a bit more. As in, read the whole thing, in context. I see a whole lot more love in Jesus than you have, apparently...
Anyhow, HB, I found a copy of Elvis' Christmas album (the original one, I believe, not the one you lost that has the cheesy added tracks) at an antique market after your post about it. My turntable is busted. I need to buy one of those snazzy turntable-CD recorder thingies. I'm going to check if my dad still has the family copy. If so, I may have a late Christmas present for you...
Oh, another killer charity is Opportunity International. They're a microcredit organization that assists people (mostly women) get out of poverty by developing their own businesses. Check it out. Truly amazing stuff (I also really like World Vision and Christian Blind Mission International). Grace and peace to you.

 
At January 01, 2007 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reply,

Yes, have read it many times. And I've been a Christian for many years.

Trouble is the majority of the music scene isn't about Love or Christ, it's about the other one.

Charity is a good thing, and a needed one.

But you miss the point, christmas isn't about Christ, it never really has been.

Get a clue before it's too late.

 

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