Celebrate (again)

CELEBRATE by helping us defeat despair on November 10. It's FREE and FUN!

CELEBRATE by helping us defeat despair on November 10. It’s FREE and FUN!

We are approaching the second anniversary of this blog, 730 consecutive daily posts. It’s time to celebrate!  I wanted to do something different from last year, something that would give us all a chance to defeat despair in a relatively small but tangible way.

I have teamed up with a generous donor who insists on being anonymous, who wants to offer you the opportunity to choose a way to bless someone else’s life without it costing you anything except your good will.  This donor would like to give donations in honor of each blog reader who leaves a comment, to one of the organizations listed below. On the second anniversary of this blog, I am asking readers to choose from among several gifts to be given to people in need of a bit of extra help.  With your permission, a donation will be made in your honor (and you will remain anonymous to the company, unless you allow your  name to be released) to whichever option you choose.

First, some assurances: each of the nonprofits listed below are well known to us, and we can vouch for them.  Christian Relief Fund and Healing Hands International are favorite charities for Jeff and me, and we have been following their work for many years now.  Both are completely transparent with all finances, and have earned the highest rating from Charity Navigator for efficient and ethical use of donations.

Closer to home, we have followed the activities of the Arc of Greater Williamsburg and Cerebral Palsy of Virginia since moving here in 2004.  Matt has enjoyed many of their services and programs, and they are among the best local nonprofits providing direct services to people with disabilities.  In our experience, this is all too rare.  We have never lived in any part of the country that had adequate services to meet the needs of the growing population of people with lifelong disabilities.

Finally, USO is our personal favorite among the many military-affiliated nonprofits.  They serve in a variety of ways, make good use of volunteers, and are found pretty much wherever U.S. military personnel are in need of their help.  We have benefited personally from many of their services, and believe that they improve the quality of life for U.S. military families everywhere.

Now for the fun part.  You get to  help defeat despair by allocating a donation to your choice from the list.  Though our donor has specified a cumulative total limit, we are not disclosing that until it is reached, because we want to encourage early participation by as many as possible.  So please help us reach the limit! I will be disappointed if we do not get enough participation (through comments) to maximize the full cumulative total limit of the donation.

Here’s what to do: on the day of our second anniversary (November 10) just leave a comment stating your choice from the list below.  As always, you can request that your comment not be published for privacy reasons and I will make sure that it does not appear online.  A donation in your honor will be made for whichever option you choose.  If you wish to have your first and/or last names released to the organization to whom the donation will go, I can get a letter to send you that will document that the donation was made in your honor.  I will NOT release anyone’s address to any of these organizations at all, nor will I release your name to them, unless you’d like confirmation that the donation was made in your honor; please state your preferences in that regard.

OK, here’s the list.  I tried to compile a variety of choices so you can give something that is meaningful to you personally.  To read more about each option, click on the linked words.

1. Through the Christian Relief Fund (CRF), you can give a source of income and nutrition to a family in need by giving a goat OR a chicken — be sure to specify which of the two you prefer to give.

2. Through the Christian Relief Fund (CRF), you can give a water filter OR a mosquito net OR a visit to a doctor OR a Bible to a family or person in needs of these things.  Again, be sure to specify which item you’d like to give.

3. Through Healing Hands International, you can allocate a $20 donation for your choice of: clean water projects OR food sustainability programs OR disaster relief.  Please specify to which of the projects you’d like your donation to go.

4. Through Cerebral Palsy of Virginia or The Arc of Greater Williamsburg, you can allocate a $20 donation for social and recreational programs for adults with disabilities.  Please specify which organization should receive your allocated donation.

5. Through the USO, you can allocate a $20 donation to go toward programs for our military troops and their families.

Please leave a comment on the blog on our anniversary date, November 10, letting me know your choice of where to send a donation in your honor. Don’t forget to specify whether you would like your first and/or last name released to the organization so you can see a written confirmation that the donation was made in your honor.  Also, as a reminder, if you want your comment and requested donation to be kept private, let me know and I will not publish it online.

And just because I think contests are fun, every person who responds with a comment and donation request on November 10 will be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card along with a chocolate surprise.  (I had to throw in that chocolate choice because so many people seemed to want it last year 😀 .)  There will be five names chosen for these prizes in the drawing, and you need not have your comment published in order to be in the drawing — so those who are shy, don’t hesitate to participate!

Questions? Leave your inquiry in the comments below (and you can specify that your question not be published, if you wish) and I’ll try to clarify anything that may be unclear before the big day rolls around.

*special thanks to Kelly (a.k.a. Petals or Boomdee) for giving me this idea, without even knowing she was doing it.  Last year, she won the $50 grand prize and asked me to donate it to an animal shelter of my choice! Bravo, K — a GREAT idea, just like all the others that come out of Boomdeeville (our affectionate name for her fabulous blog)!




  1. What a fun way to celebrate your blog!!! I will be thinking about the choices I have to share love to others. Thank you so very much for doing this. Cherie

    • Thank you Cherie, I’m so happy you will enjoy it. I hope a lot of people will. It will be fun for me too and hopefully will be a good way of helping others.

  2. MaryAnn

    Julia, You have created a wonderful outreach with this Blog Party! You so graciously donated a sewing machine to a girls home through Christian Relief Fund, for our 40th Wedding Anniversary! It made me feel SO special that you knew giving help & hope in my name was the perfect gift! Since then, we have been giving gifts through CRF to our grandchildren for Christmas each year. Often, I ask them to choose who receives the blessing. It brings us great joy to discuss the families we help around the world.
    Great idea, my Dear, for you to show God’s Love in such a tangible way!
    We donate to Healing Hands Intl. water wells project, also.
    Thanks for your continued encouragement!

    • Mary Ann, you’re welcome! Be sure and tell all the Fairfield bunch that they are invited to sign in on November 10 and choose a gift. 😀

  3. You’re a beautiful soul, inside and out. I’m marking my calendar now.

    • Wow, thank you! I will look forward to seeing you there.

  4. LB

    What a wonderful thing, Julia. I love being surrounded by genuine, selfless people.
    I’ll mark my calendar for November 10th!

    • Thanks, see you there!

  5. What a wonderful, generous way to celebrate! I’ve made my selection (CRF) !!
    See you November 10!! 🙂

    • Thank you Merry! I will look forward to seeing you then!

  6. What an exciting idea! I would love to be included in the celebration.

    • Thank you Kathy! I will look forward to “seeing” you there! ❤

  7. Julia, good morning. Thank you for this big celebration party! Give my donation to the CRF. and thanks again for providing smiles, joy and beautiful photos. I’ll always call you friend…:)

    • ❤ Thank you, Merry! I will tell CRF to use your donation wherever it's needed most. I am honored that you are my friend! 😀 ❤

  8. Susan

    Your blog has meant so much to me. I include it in my morning devotional time. The way you handle the difficulties in your life with positive strength and faith is an inspiration to me. God’s grace and smiles keep us going with the reminders to be grateful each day for all the good and beauty that surrounds us. I would love to have my donation go to the ARC in greater Williamsburg in Matt’s honor. Blessings and hugs, Susan

    • ❤ Thank you, Susan! I appreciate your kind words about the blog. It makes me so happy to think that others have been encouraged here. I will tell Matt you are donating in his honor and I just know it will bring a BIG GRIN to his face! And he's probably going to add one of his trademark phrases, "AAWWWWW…"

  9. Judy

    Julia, I too include your blog in my morning devotional time. Along with The Upper Room, it starts my day off on such a welcome, positive note. Sometimes it’s almost providential how the very subject you’re writing about fits in with something going on in my life too. I’m amazed and very appreciative of the way you combine wonderful photos with your words of wisdom. Please give a donation to CRF for someone to be able to have a doctor visit. While we often complain about certain drawbacks to the medical system we have here, there are so many people in the world who have no access to a doctor at all. I’d like to say thank you to the donor who is making this doctor visit available to someone in need.

    You don’t need to send my name to the organization.

    • ❤ Thank you Judy! I so appreciate your presence here and your encouraging words. I scheduled these blogs two weeks in advance, but I often found that they were strangely appropriate for the day they were published (and usually I had forgotten what they would be when I would go back to proofread the night before). God has a wonderful way of multiplying our efforts in ways we don't see at the time. It's the old loaves-and-fishes story, over and over again. I'm so happy to have you here with us!

  10. Beth

    Happy Anniversary to Defeat Despair! Please donate to CRF 🙂 Thank you.

    • ❤ Thank you, Beth! I will ask CRF to use your donation wherever it's most needed.

  11. Julia this is a wonderful idea! You always bring a smile to my face. If I get to choose I’d like a donation to CRF and I’d like a goat to go to a family! I just donated to Special Olympics, remembering Matt as I always do. We sure do miss you all! Blessings,Janet

    • Hey there Janet, I was just thinking of you and C.W. yesterday, and wondering how you are doing. I always, always miss you, but never more than at this time of year! It still doesn’t seem right not to be at your house on Christmas Eve, New Years, etc…I keep trying to find a way to get back there to see everyone. But maybe you can come out here, too. Meanwhile we stay in each other’s hearts. ❤ Thanks for being here to share this special day with us!

  12. tpeastin

    Hi Julia,

    I am not a frequent commenter as you know…but I AM a daily reader. This is a lovely idea (thanks Boomdee for the beginning of the idea last year.) I read through the descriptions and I’d like the donation to go to Healing Hands International for their food sustainability programs. I love that this organization is teaching people to make the land work for them. Here in Ohio, we had such a wonderful bounty in our garden this summer, and the difference between our home-grown and store bought food was astounding!

    Thanks, Julia, for this blog…I know that it will no longer be daily, but at least it will still have a regular rhythm. May God bless you and your family and give you the strength and courage to walk into the future without fear. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7


    • ❤ Thank you, Pat, for so many things – not least for reminding me of one of my favorite Bible verses here! I too get very excited about more people here growing their own food, and helping others to grow food. I have read about organizations such as Sharing Backyards and I think it’s such a great idea! When we grow food, we are growing so much more in the process. And yes, the taste of home-grown food is beyond compare. We don’t have enough sunlight in our yard to have much luck, and my tomato plants both here and at York were totally eaten up by squirrels (I didn’t even know squirrels ate tomatoes until I moved here) but I still hope one day to be able to grow something successfully, even if it’s only a kitchen garden for herbs. I am very thankful that my parents were (and still are, to the extent they are able) avid vegetable gardeners. Thanks so much for being with us on this journey, and for your friendship, prayers and support. I remember with gratitude that you are reading, even though you don’t comment often (I often see your Gravatar and I’m always glad to see that “Pat has been here today.” 😀

  13. Aleta

    Precious Julia,
    Your blog is read along with other daily devotionals. It starts my day in a Jesus-filled way. I try to pass on the joy wherever I go. Thanks so much for blessing all of your readers/friends for so long. You and your family are a living example of how to defeat despair. Please have a donation made to ARC of Greater Williamsburg in honor of Matt and also my husband’s devotion to working with adults through Special Olympics.
    Love and prayers to you and your family always,

    • Aleta, thank you so much for your kind words and for participating in our celebration! I am happy to learn you have enjoyed the blog, and especially happy that your husband works with Special Olympics. Over the years I have learned there is so much more to that program than most people realize, and countless hours are devoted to practice and achievement. When Eunice Shriver founded the program, as you may know, one of the first hurdles she had to get past was that some people didn’t want it to be competitive, or maybe didn’t believe that it could be, but she had faith in the abilities of these athletes long before most people did. I appreciate your prayers and your donation to the Arc! Please thank your husband for his labor of love with people who need him.

  14. Felicitations, Julia
    It seems to be an innovative idea!

    • Thanks Harshit! It was great fun. It’s nice to hear from you — I hope you and your family are doing well.

  15. MaryEllen Davis

    Just practicing for Nov 10!

    • Hey, thanks for the reminder! Hard to believe I’m coming up on four years of blogging, especially considering I blogged every single day for the first two years. Any suggestions for how to celebrate this time around?

  16. Susan

    Yes, we could celebrate by thanking you with gifts of teas or books or? Other things you would love? List needed with address? I appreciate all the joy and practical wisdom you share while going through many hard trials, it encourages me a lot. I also love the wonderful photos. I would love to have a gift sent to the ARC as mentioned. Take care! Susan

    • Susan, how sweet of you – Thank you! Truthfully, what I like best is to find out more about people who are reading this blog. I think it would be great to make a scrapbook of readers. Mostly for myself, but I could scan and share the pages if those who contribute don’t mind. I would love it if people would send me a scrapbook page on 8.5 x 11 cardstock or just plain paper, with photos of them and their families, animals, drawings, whatever. The best part about doing this blog is the chance to meet all the people who come here. At your request, I just now sent a donation to the ARC, but maybe we will do something else again like we did at two years, assuming I can find the time to plan it.


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