Hmmm…my last post was on sleep… I sense a theme building.

It seems I have developed a symptom associated with all the Christmas advertising: the I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas song has been ringing in my head…but now that I live in Alberta…dreaming of a white Christmas can be a reality 🙂

Some dream of shopping sales this time of year – and especially today. Even our West Edmonton Mall received press in the LA times for joining the American Black Friday craze. It seems Canadian retailers are dreaming about Americans sharing some of the ~$450 billion a year they spend on Christmas.

A few years ago, I saw this video clip called Advent Conspiracy – such a great message about spending less and giving more. Love the emphasis on relationships – on giving more of your time relationally, spending less on presents, and more on presence.

By spending less on gifts, you could share the money you saved with a worthy cause.

For some, the Salvation Army red kettle drive is a common sign that Christmas is around the corner. Yet this year some are sharing their reluctance on giving due to recently publicized corruption from within…(recent article from CBC)

It is heartbreaking when something like this rocks a charity organization. Questions of trustworthiness and accountability will likely shadow the impact they would normally have on communities this season.  Such a shame – particularly at Christmas time, when our hearts and wallets tend to be more open…

The misuse – deliberate stealing – of finances from any organization is pit-in-my-stomach-upsetting, especially from an organization whose mission is to use money to help others. This news of the Salvation Army brought back memories of 2009…

My friends were personally affected…as were the futures of many children. Their news went beyond pit-in-my-stomach to sick-to-my-stomach to heart-wrenching. It is still haunting to think of an adoption executive using organization money for anything (…I recall personal -and extravagant- expenses listed on a national news program…) other than its intended uses for children and families. Here is one of the many stories shared during that sickening scandal: A newspaper article based on an interview with my friends.

The best way to erase a bad memory like this one – is to focus on the happy-ending! Here’s my post on the day my friend travelled to Ethiopia to bring her daughter home

I love that we live close – I have loved watching her thrive within her forever family over the past 14 months in Canada – I love her hugs 🙂

She’s turning 2 years old in a few days and all who know her
and her forever family have lots to celebrate!
Their dream did finally became a reality.

Another happy ending is that her forever father works for an outstanding international charity organization (one that has thankfully been scandal-free):

Even though many Americans (-and some Canadians too) are celebrating Black Friday today by spending a lot of money in malls, I am hopeful that the spirit of giving this season can be stronger than the spree of spending.

Even though some organizations (…some people) have proved unworthy of donations, I hope you will still consider donating to organizations that are good stewards – let’s focus on the happy-endings that can come from donations.

This year, I invite you to visit the Giving Page I created on a secure site called
Canada Helps.org (which protects your personal information and provides you with a tax receipt). I hope you – and people you know – will consider joining us in helping a specific local charity organization this year.

As part of a PhD course this semester, I have had the privilege of working with the
Edmonton Dream Centre

As part of my coursework, I was tasked with developing a program evaluation plan for this community-based, non-profit organization. In the process, I learned about their data collection needs and how implementing a program evaluation plan can help them appeal to funders.

I love learning about how research can help meet specific community needs!

Over the next week, I will be finalizing and submitting the required written components of my program evaluation course. I then look forward to presenting the centre with a plan that will hopefully help them take the next step – one step closer to their dream of a bigger facility so they can help more women in crisis and their children (…instead of the nightmare of having to turn more and more women away due to lack of space).

My dream is that they will receive sustainable funding
that will help women achieve sustainable recovery.

In the meantime, I hope you will consider helping them this season.

Please visit or share this link to our
Canada Helps Giving Page: http://www.canadahelps.org/gp/21491

I hope you will also invest in your friends and family through the gift of your presence…instead of just presents 🙂

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