Monday, December 19, 2011

Anchoring Yourself in the Real World While Living in Your Story World

Anchoring Yourself in the Real World While Living in Your Story World
Missy Tippens

Writers are weird. Face it, we’re a unique breed. We hear voices and make up stories and create worlds and torture characters to make them grow. We stare at a computer for hours on end, talk to people who aren’t there, draw strange-looking charts. We laugh and cry (sometimes manically) while we type. We yell at our computer screen, yell at ourselves, and maybe even yell at some poor, unsuspecting soul who interrupts up at a critical moment (but then apologize profusely, of course). We own towering stacks of books that can almost take over a house, buy pens in every color, and collect sticky notes in every shape and size.

See, we sound weird, don’t we? :)

Yes, we often live in our story world. And that’s the way it needs to be while we’re putting down that first draft or doing the initial planning for a story. But we need to be able to change gears back to real life when it’s time. It can be tough to learn to do when we work at home. I think it's especially difficult yet important at holiday times when more of our family members are around...more of the time.

I took an amazing online class with Shirley Jump in November. And I used her class to plan a new plot for a proposal that hadn’t been up to par. I’ve been totally focused on that new proposal over the last few weeks. So focused that I let lots of other things go (like Christmas shopping!). I just sent the work out for critique late last week and felt like I had come out from under a rock once I sent it. My kids had been getting on me for being so distracted, especially once they were out of school for the Christmas holiday. And I admit I came away from the writing in a sort of panic that I’d never get everything done by Christmas.

So how do we anchor ourselves in the real world while submersing ourselves in the story world? Balance. I need to learn balance. Here are just a few thoughts on how to try to do that better.

--Turn off/shut the computer at a certain time each day and stick to that!
--Work at your most productive times of day if possible.
--Set priorities and, if needed, let some things go.
--Don’t get sucked into time on the Internet. Set limits and maybe even a timer.
--Budget time as well as money. Set aside time for each activity.

I know those suggestions are fairly vague. Maybe for the new year, I’ll try to figure out a plan to do better and post on that sometime later. But since I imagine I’m not the only writer out there who struggles with this (did you have a December deadline or some other project you’ve been working on that you needed to finish in December?), I thought I’d offer my solution for catching up.

So what do I do when I come out of my cave to find Christmas won’t wait?

I buy gifts that reach out and help others. And buy them in honor of my friends and loved ones.

Don’t buy your dad a tie he doesn’t need or your sister a pair of house slippers just like last year. Check with your favorite charitable organizations and see what gifting opportunities they offer. Today, I’ll share a few of my favorites and some that a couple of the Seeker ladies told me they use.

Myra Johnson and I both love the options with World Vision. Last year, I sent soccer balls to Africa in honor of my nephew, Buster Posey, who plays for the San Francisco Giants (I mean, what on earth can I buy the guy who could buy just about anything he wants??). I also contributed to maternal health in Afghanistan in honor of his wife. I’ve bought backpacks/school supplies for children in third world countries in honor of my dad (who grew up very poor, one of the youngest in a family of 12 kids, so I knew that would mean a lot to him).
Myra says, “I just made donations to World Vision in honor of my agent and our daughters and sons-in-law. World Vision has many different areas where your gifts can go, including animals, clean water, education, girls & women, and so many more! You can request a printed card or an e-card to be sent to your honoree, or you can print your own card. I enjoy selecting a gift that would have special meaning to the person I'm honoring."

To check out the World Vision catalogue, click here: World Vision

Myra says she has also given through Heifer International many times. And I believe I remember Ruthy saying the same thing. With this organization, you can give an animal or a share of an animal to help people around the world learn to be self-reliant. It can help them with income and food production.

To check out Heifer International, click here.

Tired of buying the same teacher gifts (for church and school teachers)? Years ago, we began giving to the United Methodist Children’s Home in honor the all my kids’ many teachers. They always seemed to appreciate it. And I even got one sweet thank you note that said the teacher’s father had grown up in a U.M. Children’s home (a different one). I’ve also donated here in honor of my editor, agent, close friends, our church and family members.

To check out the United Methodist Children’s Home in Decatur, Georgia, click here.

Julie Lessman shared she donates clean drinking water in honor of her publisher and agent. She told me that her church is part sponsor/creator of a wonderful Christmas program called Advent Conspiracy, where the whole concept is to give "presence" instead of "presents," so the four components are: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All. All money goes to digging wells for people in third-world countries who do not have clean drinking water.

To check out the Advent Conspiracy website, click here.  

Each year at our church, the Missions Committee sells items made by workers from around the world to help provide them income. They also offer a chance to buy gifts in honor, and the money goes toward local missions. They then send a beautiful handmade ornament to the recipients of the honor. The money raised for these go to The Light (local homeless shelter), Peace Place (shelter for battered women and their children), Habitat for Humanity, the Murphy-Harpst Home (residential center for abused children), The Tree House (to reduce the impact and occurrence of child abuse) and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. Another that’s not actually local but is a mission our church supports is Life for Children Ministries, (supporting AIDS orphans in Kenya). I made use of all these this year! Most of my family members are getting these gifts. :)

My son on one of his Africa mission trips

One thing to keep in mind since today is December 19: These are great for last minute gifts. Most will let you print a gift card to present to your recipient. And most will also email or snail mail acknowledgments.

To follow up on the Ruthy’s offer a week or so ago when she challenged us to ring the Salvation Army bell, I’m going to offer a hot off the presses copy of A House Full of Hope (now available for pre-order!) to one commenter who makes a donation in honor of someone. To enter, go make a donation to one of these organizations or to the organization of your choice, and then let me know in your comment. If you’ve already done so recently as a Christmas gift, then let me know that and you’ll be entered. This is on the honor system here. I’ll believe you. No need to send a receipt. :) I’ll put all the names in a hat (well, I’ll actually use the cool online number randomizer) to pick one winner.

This turned into a long post. Bless you for making it this far!! We’d love to hear about your favorite charity or organization you volunteer for! (Okay, Grammar Queen, I know I ended in a preposition. But come one, who would say, "We'd love to hear about your favorite charity or organization for which you volunteer.")  ;)

A House Full of Hope (from Love Inspired Feb. 2012)

A widowed mom of four finds hope of love in the most unlikely of places when the former bad boy who ruined her sister returns to town seeking redemption.

From Black Sheep to Father of Four…
Before becoming a Christian, Mark Ryker ran with a bad crowd and broke hearts. Including his father’s. Now a successful businessman, Mark has come home to Corinthia, Georgia, to make amends. But no one  will forgive him. So when the widowed mother of four renting his dad’s run-down house needs help fixing up the place, Mark gets to work. Pretty Hannah Hughes and her sweet kids have him longing to be part of the clan, but Hannah isn’t ready to let go of the past. Still, they are  working together on a house full of hope—and that’s all Mark needs.


  1. Missy I do love this idea. This year again we donated to a Missionary friend who is in Kenya. $30 will pay for a preschooler to go to school for a year. we helped 3 children for Christmas last year this year money is a little tighter but have donated on behalf of mum for my Brother and his wife so 2 children can go to school for a year. Its a great gift for someone who doesn't need gifts. Please enter me. I do this for mum for mothers day and her birthday. (would have this christmas but she needed new nighties)

  2. That sounds wonderful, Jenny!! I've got you entered. It is something good for someone who doesn't really need anything.

    My parents always tell them not to get them anything. It drives me crazy! So I usually get them something small to open while we're with them at Christmas and then make donations.

  3. Missy, I enjoyed this post. End in a preposition, you rebel you ;-)
    Heifer international is a great organization, and so is Living Water. This year there was something a little closer to my heart, so when my boss at the day job asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I answered honestly. A donation to Sandi Rog's fundraiser. That was such a better gift for me than the gift card to Hermes I got last year. High-end just isn't my style. As evidenced by the fact I'll be re-gifting the Tiffany&Co. crystal bowl my other boss gave me. But don't tell anyone, LOL.

  4. So cool to see how authors are reaching out this Christmas! Many members of my family have been giving to organizations like World Vision, and Gospel For Asia. Our Church has also been raising money to build 5 wells through Living Water International. I personally gave money to give Bibles to Christians in China. I gave in honor of my dad who is passionate about that!

  5. I LOVE this post! So many years we've bought animals or supplies, but I hadn't heard of UM children's homes or the backpacks. So neat!!

    I just finished a fundraising bake sale with my 3rd grade Sunday school class and we made $71 for Heifer Intl. The kids chose the 'flock of hope' and a share of a goat. :D

    My husband and I donate to an organization that helps child prostitutes and also to the restavek Foundation of Haiti, which helps enslaved children. Those are our gifts to each other. :)

  6. Oh my stars, you guys ROCK IT!!! I'm so stinkin' pleased to see all of these ideas.

    Missy, I had no idea there was a children's home in Georgia or anywhere else, for that matter, so that's intriguing. Also, sharing (and God bless you, Jenny for admitting this year is tougher for you because it's the case for so many people, and yet they share!!! God with us!) the water sites... That's my goal this year, to become a regular contributor to a well-digging project. Inch by inch we can make a difference.

    Missy, what a great post. God sure as shootin' knew what he was doin' when he made you, darlin'!


  7. Missy I do understand the parent thing. Mum doesn't need anything so donating is something she appreciates.

  8. Oh Missy, I so needed this reminder. Christmas time is my favorite, but I do get swamped with the extra things to do. Thanks for reminding us to budget time for them.

    I give regularly to Samaritan's Purse. They do Operation Shoebox and give out more than 8 million Christmas gifts to children around the world. They also help in the US and abroad with disaster relief, hospital missions and projects to provide clean water and food in third world countries.

  9. LOved reading about all the other organizations. Isn't it wonderful that we can share our resources? We are so blessed ourselves.

    Thanks Missy.

  10. Nancy, thank you for those suggestions! I've heard of Living Water.

    And yes, Sandi Rog's fundraiser is another worthy cause going on right now. Here's a link:

  11. Abbi, thanks for sharing about your favorites!

    Virginia, that is so sweet about your Sunday school kids!! You're starting them off eatly, teaching them about giving.

  12. Ruthy, I remember seeing a TV special about how many deaths would be prevented each year if people just had clean drinking water. It's staggering.

    Such a wonderful goal to set to help save those lives!

  13. Sandra, I love Samaritan's Purse as well! Our family did a shoe box this year, and I had so much fun filling it! I chose to do one for an older girl--getting hair bows, and girly toiletries and cute socks. And candy, of course. :)

  14. What a great post! And definitely something I need to get better at!

    I just read the most beautiful post by Ann Voskamp - who wrote A Thousand Gifts. It was all about how there haven't been presents under their tree for 10 years. They get presents for Jesus - by giving to the least of these. It was so beautiful. Made my hubby and I want to follow suit.

    I love the picture of your son in Africa! My hubby and I are just starting the adoption process to adopt from the Congo. God's going to have to show up in a HUGE way, because it definitely feels like it's over our heads! I went to Kenya for three weeks several years ago to do HIV/AIDS outreach. Ever since, I feel like part of my heart beats in that continent.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

  15. I just realized the link I gave for Sandi is specifically for entering to win a paid ACFW conference in 2012 (by donating).

    Here's a link to the general fundraiser site:

  16. Missy,

    I did have a deadline in December. The time line on my edits actually made my deadline on Christmas Day! However, I planned a head with all my Christmas activities, like shopping and baking and was able to turn the edits around and get them emailed back this weekend.

    As for charities, I look for local organizations, like the county food bank or giving trees that assist community members.

  17. Katie, thanks for letting us know about that post.

    My son has been to Kenya twice. Once when he was 17 with Life for Children. It truly changed his life. He went again during college with a different group so didn't see the same people. But some of our church members went back to the same place with the Life for Children Ministries, and several of the boys (now 4 years older) asked about him! It thrilled him that they remembered him.

    I'll be praying for your adoption process!

  18. Rose, planning ahead is such a great idea. To make sure the work gets done in plenty of time. Good for you! Now you can relax and enjoy. :)

  19. Great post, Missy! Love your suggestions to create a balance between our real and imaginary worlds.

    Excellent ideas for making our gifts count, especially for those who need nothing. Or if they do, we have no idea what.

    Merry Christmas!

  20. Missy, you are so right about coming out from under your rock to find it's Christmas and there is soooo much left to do!

    Prioritizing doesn't come naturally to me. But I've learned I have to avoid being swept up in other's expectations and excitment.

    Over the last month and a half, I've been avoiding the Internet like the plague. It sucks me in and pops me out in another time dimension...which isn't good when you're trying to be constructive, LOL.

    I absolutely love the idea of donating as gifting. Let's face it, everyone knows someone (at times multiple someones) who don't need a thing and buying them a pair of slippers or a hat just seems so uncreative.

    I like the idea of buying a family a goat. Goats are cute. And useful. And will entertain the kids.

    Mothers everywhere can use a diversion for their children!!

    Great post, Missy. Wonderful holiday perspective!

  21. Missy,

    I love the idea of making a donation in someone's name. There are so many who need more than my friends and family.

    I tend to give close to home. This year I donated to the USO's Project Elf to buy gifts for children of our enlisted men and women who might be struggling this year.

    Thanks for the other great ideas. I'll have to tuck them away for next year.


  22. Good morning Janet and Audra!

    Audra, no wonder we haven't see your smiling face too much lately! :) But I totally understand. Good for you!

  23. Kirsten, that sounds like a fantastic project! I'll have to check into it more around here.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

  24. Rose, you're my kind of girl:

    Plan your work.

    Work your plan.

    Work ahead of the 'curve'....

    Raising a glass of icy cold egg nog in your honor, my friend!

  25. What fabulous ideas! Thank you so much for reminding us of the reason for the season.

  26. I was just reminded of Tom's, a company that sends a pair of shoes to people in need for every pair you buy. Here's a link:

  27. Y'all who are sharing your favorite charities, be sure to let me know if you're entering for the book giveaway as well!

  28. My kids just came dragging in a little while ago. They had a youth lock-in at the church. My oldest even went as a chaperone. I asked him how it went. He said 'Long but fun." :) I've had a few of those long chaperone moments myself. LOL

  29. We've been donating on behalf of our family members for a couple years now - not only do our parents and siblings not need anything, we're all at the age where we're in the middle of downsizing...and who wants to add more stuff to get rid of?

    Our favorite organizations are Heifer Project and Rafiki Foundation (

    Rafiki Foundation establishes orphanages and schools in ten different countries in Africa. One of their goals is "to educate the next generation of leaders in Africa".

    I love organizations like these two that don't just give, but provide a way for people to become self-sufficient and help others. You know, that "if you teach a man to fish" idea.

  30. You are so right, Missy! When you're fully immersed in a book ms., it's hard to leave that story world behind and rejoin real life. I've worked really hard to stick to "writing hours," usually from about 1:00 to 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. Then I leave the computer behind!!!

    Of course, I'm not averse to quick peeks at email on my iPhone during TV commercials!

    Great suggestions on how to give truly meaningful Christmas gifts! And we really should think about these worthy causes year-round, because needs don't occur only in December! How about a special birthday or anniversary remembrance as well?

  31. What a wonderful idea, Missy! I love that.

    You know, if you still need to shop for gifts, shopping online makes it take sooooo much less time! I do that, because I hate shopping.

    And yes, I do struggle with living in the real world while writing/living in Medieval Germany. I am writing a book on deadline right now for the first time ever, but I do think I need to give myself permission to not write on the days my kids are home, especially since they are getting so little time off for Christmas this year. They're not out until this Friday, and then they go back on Jan. 3rd. Only a week and two days! I can take off for that long. (But I can still write while they're in bed!)

  32. I just received a "gift" from an organization I hadn't heard of before, so I thought I'd pass along the info.

    Visit KIVA and see what they're all about. I was VERY impressed!

  33. MISSY!!! Sooooo needed this today, and plan to "turn the computer off" right after this post.

    Christmas is SO about giving and loving, both family and friends and the world, that I would be absolutely fine without another "me" present, which is why this is SUCH an important post, my friend -- THANK YOU!!


  34. I give children's books every year in honor of my grandchildren. They go to afterschool programs for hungry children, literacy programs and others.

    I like tying gifts to items my grandchildren can identify with in their own lives. They are very young now and probably don't understand anything but sharing. But that is okay. The seeds are planted.

    Peace, Julie

  35. PS Methodist Children's Homes rock everywhere!

  36. Missy, this was a wonderful post. So appreciate your suggestions for balancing writing life and real life. :) I often ask myself if there is such a thing as balance between the two. I'm going to have to set a timer for my on-line time, because I spend more time reading blogs and whatnot than I probably should. :)

    We haven't donated in anyone's name this year, but we always fill shoe boxes. We take our kids and let them select things for children their own ages. They love doing this, and we hope it teaches them the beauty found in giving to others.

    We also just gave to a training center in the Philippines that was severely damaged by a tropical storm that just went through there. Both my husband and myself had the opportunity to minister with and to the students who attend the training center. They are equipped to start churches in other parts of their country.

    Love your focus on donating in others' names as meaningful gifts, Missy. Thanks!

  37. Katie,

    I'll be praying for you. Adoption is one of the most amazing things,and one of the most difficult processes you'll ever grow from. Both of our kiddos are adopted (domestically). My prayers for you and your husband as you begin this process. :)

  38. Jan, I'll check out Rafiki right now! Thanks for mentioning it.

    Myra, you're so right! I do b-day gifts this way as well.

  39. Melanie, that's terribly short for Christmas break! I hope you enjoy your time with the family!!

  40. Myra, Kiva looks really cool! My husband's cousin's family (previously missionaries in Kenya) has been involved in micro-loans. I'm really interested in finding this site!

  41. Hey, Julie! And Resume. thanks for stopping by!

  42. Julie, I love this wonderful idea! They'll catch on quickly and will learn to be giving and selfless. Nice job raising those grandbabies right! :)

  43. Jeanne, getting the kids involved in the shoe boxes is a great idea. They always enjoy buying for kids the same gender/age. Although I used to have to keep my kids on task. They'd always want to buy 2 of everything so they'd have it too!! :)

  44. Hi Missy:

    You made me think of the Churchill response when a lady at a social event corrected him for ending a sentence with a preposition:

    "This is the kind of pedantic nonsense up with which I will not put!"

    I always give to the “Amazon Project” every year because Dr. Smith is my favorite ‘hereoine’.

    See my post:

    I must say I’m not a big fan of ‘gift donations’ in other people’s names. I don’t consider it a gift unless I get the tax write-off. : )

    Also, if you give their names, so they can get a thank you card, you may have put them on 100 mailings lists for which they may not be that thankful.

    Here’s something I did the last two years. I like to buy things at the Brenda Novak Juvenile Diabetes Charity auction and then give those items as gifts throughout the year. (Brenda is another of my real life heroines.)

    But then that’s me. I’m not as sweet as your are. : )


    P.S. I have the opposite problem: I’m so grounded that my characters complain that I don’t spend enough time with them!!!

    P.P.S. I think I can get your book faster by downloading it on January first at eHarlequin. Let someone else have my chance. : )

    P.P.P.S I love your new cover. I never had a dog that would stay in a wagon like that. That dog is big enough for those little kids to ride like a horse. I already like the book!

    P.P.P.P.S BTW: some critics say it is too pedantic to add an additional P with each additional Post Script – but I think it is important anyway. : )

  45. My son and I rang the Salvation Army bell for over three hours last Saturday night. Great way to spend an evening with your child, though I would go for a shorter stint next time. :-)

  46. Hi Missy:

    The link I gave won’t work because it is too long for Blogger to handle.

    If you go to my site:

    and search on Linnea it should take you to the post.

    The Great Amazon Romance with Life Continues…
    21 Years Later…
    A Real Life Heroine Continues Her Love Story:
    A love of caring
    A love of healing
    A love of life
    A love of a people

    We do love our favorite charities, don’t we?


  47. P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Vince, I do the same thing with my P.S.'s!!! LOL

    You have a good point about mailing lists! I haven't had any complaints yet, though. :)

    Thanks for the info on your favorite charity. I'll head to your blog to find the post.

    Also, one of our dogs used to sit in my daughter's stroller and sleep. When she got big enough to push the stroller, he'd let her wheel him all over the house and up and down the driveway! He loved it! And she had just as much fun as he did. A real live baby doll!

  48. LOL, Walt! Gotta love those bonding experiences. hehe

  49. Vince, thanks for mentioning the Jan. 1 date!! I just now checked the Harlequin website. I'm excited that people can get it that soon!

    But wouldn't you know I just sent out my Christmas newsletter a couple of hours ago. And of course, didn't include that link. (sigh)


    By the way, if anyone wants to sign up for my quarterly newsletter, check my website or blog.

  50. WALT!!!! I'm so proud of you and Christopher and Andrew! Yayayayayay, you guys!

    Over three hours is long. I hear ya'. That's why Mandy and Beth or friends stop by with warm stuff. Because it gets cold.

    How do homeless folks survive? My heart just aches for the mentally ill, the addicted that just can't hang on. Walt, your book's on the way as soon as I get to the post office. Got a bag full, ready and waiting for that "postal" stamp of approval.

    Good job!

  51. Thanks for the links, Missy. I donated to Heifer International in honor of my agent and editor last week.

    Vince: Yikes! I didn't think about people's email addresses being harvested. Sigh. Thanks for the tip!

  52. You know, I feel like I should give a word of caution, here...

    Be sure to check out any organization you donate to. Make sure it's legit and that it uses its money wisely. Don't trust great ideas and slick websites. You can usually look this up online.

    Okay, that's it for my public service announcement. :)

  53. Yay, Pammy! I'm sure they'll love it!

  54. I need to get better about budgeting time when it comes to writing.

    But these are great ideas! The kids love Samaritans Purse and Christmas boxes!

    And now... I'm headed back to fiction world... I hope.

    But then it's time for cookies. Because that's what we give to pretty much every teacher/etc who comes in contact with the kiddos :D.

  55. Here's a link to go check on some of the larger charities and online ones...

  56. Sorry, I still haven't learned to insert links. Just copy and paste. :)

  57. Carol, cookies are always good. I think I'm a teacher who's come in contact with your kids. Surely, I am, aren't I??? I've probably seen a photo of them online, right???


  58. Oh Sandra I forgot about Samaritans Purse (I think I forget cos we have to have ours completed by mid Sept) One of the Aussie authors I have become friends with has a son who has been chosen to go with the boxes to Cambodia (I think) and they will be doing a doco on it.

  59. LOL Missy! I'm sure you are! I'll have the kids drop them off on your desk tomorrow or Wednesday ;). Which room is yours?

  60. Wonderful suggestions Missy! Love your book blurb sounds like a good read :)

  61. Carol, my desk in in NE Georgia. Just outside Atlanta. ;)

  62. Jenny, I think that would be amazing to get to deliver those boxes!! What joy to see their faces. :) I noticed this year they had an option to register to find out where you shipment goes. Very cool.

  63. Thanks, Eva Maria! I can't wait to see YOUR book!!

  64. Will get right on it Missy ;).

    And I can't wait for the book! Sounds great!

  65. We always give to the Christian Relief Fund. It was started by my husband's uncle, Baxter Loe, who was involved in missions along time ago. He met a man named John Abraham, a Christian minister who had given up his government job to preach, in May 1971 during a famine in India. John Abraham asked Baxter for assistance. But Baxter thought he could not afford to help. Months later, Baxter learned that John Abraham died of starvation. This gave him the conviction to follow Christ’s example of feeding the hungry. CRF began by helping the three surviving children of John Abraham in 1971, and now serves many countries. It's a great organization.

    I love many of you donate to wonderful causes in the name of your agent/publisher, etc. That is way cool! And a great idea!

  66. Ruthy, I took my kiddos to WalMart today, and I saw a father and his son ringing the Salvation Army bell. Can't do that with mine this year, but the kids liked the idea of maybe next year.

    I especially felt for them because it's 25 degrees with lots of wind and blowing snow today.

    Walt good for you and your son! I'll take note to take a shorter shift next year with my kiddos (probably one at a time--they're both active).

  67. Missy we were able to track boxes last year but we had to have them in to early this year.
    Oh to bad you are not closer I have so many cookies that I dont have enough people to give them to! We always give our pastor some. I have 4 or 5 depending on how I do it. to deliver today. I think I will take some to the nursing home tomorrow for the staff. I love making them but dont eat to many of them.

  68. Sherrinda, what a heart breaking story. But also uplifting to see what has become of the ministry! Thanks for sharing.

    Jenny, those cookies will be greatly appreciated!

  69. It's dinner time on the east coast! Y'all join me for some pork roast (recipe courtesy of chef Michael Symon). Fruit salad. Roasted dill potatoes.

    Oh, and kale chips! Check the Yankee-Belle Cafe blog for the recipe. :)

  70. BTW, if anybody wants to donate an agent, I'm in need. :D Seriously. I'm not kidding.

  71. Missy, thanks to you I know what to get my mother for her birthday 12/31! One of her favorite charities is for children with a cleft palate. I believe it is
    I usually don't think of charities for birthdays but you sparked an idea. Thanks!

  72. Two of my favorite Georgia charities are the Pregnant Crisis Center in Hapeville and our local food pantry. They need help year 'round but especially at Christmas.

    Thanks for great gift-giving suggestions, Missy!

  73. LOL, Linnette!! If only it were that easy! :)

    Donna, I'm so glad to help! I know she'll love it. :)

    Pam, I missed you earlier! Thanks for letting us know you also donate to Heifer International! (My goodness. I don't know how to spell Heifer! I have to look it up every time I type it!) LOL

  74. Debby, our local food pantry has had a terrible time this year trying to keep up with the demand. It's more than ever. So taking goods to food pantries would be an excellent way to help!

  75. By the way, I received a wonderful gift from my agent today through Kiva Microfunds!

  76. Thank you for sharing this article. I love it. Keep on writing this type of great stuff.

  77. I founded a group called Stitches of Hope. We create and distribute free caps to people who lose hair from illness to medical facilities across the nation. We’ve given away 5,000+ in 3 years.

  78. Missy, I'm a little late here-I donated this year to rebuilding Haitia through a rubble removal project sponsored by Passion City church and Samaritan's Purse. I really liked that way of giving.
    (don't enter me in the drawing.)

  79. It was fun reading about all the people who are donating to such good causes. We always do Shoeboxes with Samaritan's Purse and then donate gifts through World Vision and Samaritan's Purse.

    I also enjoyed your post about living in two worlds. I really struggle with this. My stories tend to come all at once and I can't seem to stop the muse. That means people talking in my head and people talking around me (at home and at work) all at the same time. It's amazing I get anything done.

  80. Hi Missy,
    You've highlighted several charities that we've contributed to in the past. This year my daughter and I donated 25 knitted sweaters to Newborns in Need. She was a preemie, so it's a charity near and dear to my heart. She's now 30, and just this past Wednesday gave birth to a lovely new grandson. (That's why I'm so late getting here!) Thanks for reminding us to look outside of our writing space!


  81. I don't know if giving of time counts, but because of medical expenses this year, money has been tight. However, I volunteered last week and will be volunteering again tonight (Tuesday, 12/20) at the Delta Air Lines Military Lounge. It is an incredibly humbling thing to do - serve these young men and women (they look like they're about 16) sandwiches and cokes as they come through the Atlanta Airport. They are so grateful - even for sandwiches and cokes - and so polite. Their face lights up when we thank them for their service - they are so proud to serve their country. I am so grateful that my son served as a Marine and came home safely from two tours in Iraq and I pray that everyone of the men and women who visit the military lounge this year will come home safely as well. Tonight I will be taking pictures and hopefully will blog about this soon. (sorry for the long post)

  82. Yasmin and Lindi, thanks for stopping by!

    Kayleen, thanks for letting us know about your Stitches of Hope!

    Jodi, my stories seem to come out like that sometimes, too. It's tough to work through it!

    Lyndee, congratulations on the new grandbaby!!

    Edwina, YES! So many organizations need our time as well! What a thrill it must be for you to see those soldiers' faces light up. :)

  83. I co-founded a charity that makes/distributes knitted/crocheted caps for people who lose hair from cancer. We've given away 5,000+ in 3 years to men, women, children around the US. Yeah, Volunteers!
    Stitches of Hope