Saturday, December 29, 2012

12 in 12: December Update

During 2012, Sophia, Olivia, and I are doing a special challenge that we've named 12 in 12. We are doing 12 different activities that help people in need, animals, or the environment.

This is how we did during December: 

- Take 1 bag of food to the food shelf. 

We purchased and donated a bag of food that the local grocery store makes available to customers.

Sophia and Olivia with the bag of food we purchased and
donated to the food shelf.

We also donated a box of 12 noodle soups to the food shelf collection at the senior center in St. Croix Falls. The center was collecting food during Rivertown Days.

The girls with a donation to a food drive.

- Volunteer 1 hour at a community organization.

We did a variety of volunteer projects this month. First, we collecting worked about 28 hours packing and shipping 1,037 books to Quthing, Africa, to create the first-ever library at Moorosi Primary School. This was a project through the African Library Project.

Sophia writing a letter to the students at Moorosi Primary School.
She attached the letter to a photograph and book 
that complemented one another.

Olivia marking out any words or images on the boxes
in preparation for shipping them to Africa.

Olivia and Sophia with Shadow (the cat) and
20 boxes filled with 1,037 books for the 
library we are helping to create in Quthing, Africa, at
Moorosi Primary School.

Then, on December 12th, we volunteered through church to visit two residents at an assisted living facility and a nursing home in Minnesota and Wisconsin respectively.

Sophia and Olivia with a card and poinsettia
outside the apartment of the first person we were to visit.
She ended up not being there, so we left both items by her door.

We gave each person a card from us and a poinsettia from the church.

The girls after visiting with a senior at another care facility.

Although the first person we visited wasn't there, we enjoyed the second visit with a woman who used to live   about 8 miles from us for about 50 years. She and her husband used to operate a gas station in town.

The last thing that Sophia and I did this month was volunteer for Locks of Love by donating our hair.  Sophia donated 14" of hair and I donated 12" of hair.

Before and after the haircuts.

It took Sophia about four years to grow her hair out to the length is was prior to the cut; and it took me about two years to grow mine out from the last time I cut my hair. (This is the fourth time that I have donated my hair and Sophia's first time that she donated her hair.)

- Donate 1 bag of clothing to a second-hand shop.

We donated one bag of clothing to Family Pathways.

Sophia with a bag of clothes.
Olivia with three bags of non-clothing items.

- Donate 1 bag of toys and other non-clothing items to a second-hand shop.

We donated three bags of household items and fabric to Family Pathways. See the photo above for what we donated.

- Donate 12 books that we no longer read to organizations needing books. 

We donated 42 books to the local library. Some of the books they can use in their collection and others they can sell. The proceeds from book sales helps purchase new books for the library.

Sophia and Olivia with the books we donated to the library and
to Goodwill.

The remaining 67 books that the library couldn't use, we donated to Goodwill.

- Donate $12 to an organization that helps individuals, animals, or the environment.

We chose to donate $12 to Northwoods Humane Society.

Olivia and Sophia with Kitten Chow and 
$12 for Northwoods Humane Society.

We have enjoyed supporting this organization during 2012, and are happy to know that the funds are being used to help animals while they wait for families to adopt them.

One of the dogs needing a loving family and permanent home.

There were many dogs and cats this month compared to last month. Some of the dogs have been there for two months now. It must be a long wait for them.

One of the cats waiting to be adopted.

- Write 1 letter to someone who has made a difference in our lives.

Sophia and Olivia colored pictures and I wrote a letter to Tim DeChristopher who, through his actions, helped preserve thousands of acres of land in Utah that are adjacent to a national park. His non-violent civil disobedience resulted in a two-year prison term and a $10,000 fine.

Yet, what is so inspiring about him is that he stood up for what he believed in, and his courage led to land preservation (something we value) as well as prevented other issues from impacting the animals and people who live and visit that area.

Pictures that Sophia and Olivia colored, and 
the thank you note I wrote to Tim DeChristopher.

- Donate 1 bag of pop cans to places that collect them to raise funds.

We chose to donate cans to Northwoods Humane Society again this month.

Olivia and Sophia ready to put the cans into the collector
at Northwoods Humane Society.

We like that the proceeds help support the animals waiting for new homes.

This puppy at Northwoods was eager to play.

There were quite a few dogs this month at Northwoods Humane Society in comparison to last month.

Olivia with one of the dogs at Northwoods. 
This one was a husky mix that had been adopted and returned. 
The owners had chained the dog to a 20-foot chain 
for its time to be outdoors. 
They never allowed him to run or play. 
Hopefully owners who understand huskies and larger dogs 
will adopt him and provide a better home for him.

- Donate 1 bag of Purina Kitten Chow to Northwoods Humane Society.

We donated one bag of Kitten Chow to Northwoods this month. (See the photo above of Sophia and Olivia standing outside of Northwoods.)

The girls playing with the kittens.

There seemed to be a lot of kittens this month. They enjoyed the attention the girls gave them, and were very playful. Thankfully, the girls aren't old enough to adopt animals yet otherwise we would have come home with lots of kittens and cats.

This cat enjoyed sticking his paw out the cage and playing.

There were many older cats as well looking for families.

This cat reminded me of Boo, 
one of the cats who we had for over 15 years.

Hopefully these animals find loving families soon.

- Spend 1 hour outdoors doing projects that help wildlife.

With the heavy snowfall at the beginning of the month, it is even more important to fill the bird feeders. There have been a wide variety of birds visiting the feeders: cardinals, blue jays, goldfinches, nuthatches, black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, and house finches.

This month a new bird that we have never seen showed up: the Harris's sparrow. It has been a joy to see a new bird that normally lives in Canada visit the feeder each day. We hope it stays around for the rest of the winter.

The Harris's sparrow that has been eating at the feeders.
It scratches at the food like a chicken does 
which is interesting to watch.

Something else we have never seen is a squirrel in the bird bath. It spent a lot of time drinking water. There was a big snowstorm headed our way the next day. Olivia wondered if maybe the squirrel knew that and was preparing for a challenging day ahead.

The squirrel in the bird bath.

- Make and randomly drop off 1 toy for a child to find as part of The Toy Society.

I made a hand-embroidered cow toy from wool felt and wool stuffing from sheep I raised.

Embroidered cow toy that I made.

We placed the toy in one of the cart at Cub for a child to find.

Olivia by the cart with the toy.
We hope the child who finds it will enjoy playing with it.

- Share 1 time the gift of music (piano and/or harp) or singing with others. 

On December 14th and 15th, Sophia and Olivia sang and acted during the annual Christmas play at church.

The cast of the Christmas play before the performance.

Both the girls were angels in the play.

Olivia as an angel.

They had speaking lines as well as sang several songs during the performance.

Sophia as an angel.

On December 16, Olivia and Sophia sang as part of the children's choir for the St. Lucia services at church.

Olivia and Sophia singing during one of the St. Lucia services.

On December 17th, Sophia played the harp at a Christmas party living at a nearby assisted living facility. The party was for the residents as well as their families.

Sophia playing the harp for over 30 residents, their family members, and
staff members at an assisted living facility.

On December 23rd, Sophia played the harp during both Christmas services at church.

Sophia (on the right) with her harp instructor (on the left)
being accompanied by the organist during one of many pieces
they played during both services on December 23rd.

On December 23rd, Olivia and Sophia sang Jessye's Carol (also known as This Christmastide) at both church services. The children's choir sang with the adult choir; and were accompanied by the harp, organ, cello, viola, and two violins. It was a very moving piece, and beautifully sang and performed.

The children's choir in their robes right before they went into church 
to sing Jessye's Carol with the adult choir.

On December 24th, the girls sang at the Christmas Eve service.

The girls singing at the 3:00 service with the children's choir.

The first song at each service was sung by the choir members.

Half the children's choir left after the 3:00 service,
so the remaining five girls sang nice and loud for the 4:30 service.

The second song (All is Well) was sung at each service by the choir members and their families. I had not heard of it before, but apparently it has been recorded by many artists from Amy Grant to Michael Crawford as well as performed by countless church choirs over the years.

The message of peace and hope are reflected in the lyrics of All is Well. It seemed like a fitting song for both the Christmas Eve service as well as the conclusion of the 12 in 12 challenge that Sophia, Olivia, and I set out to do during each month of this year.  

What we have done for ourselves alone 
dies with us;
what we have done for others and the world
remains and is immortal.
~ Albert Pike ~ 

1 comment:

Rita said...

Nice recap! I still can't believe how many books you all collected for the kids. A great December. :)