Blog Archives

Monday, December 31, 2007


Speaking of contests, my friend Lanny over at is having one also. Go give her a visit as well!
Howdy everyone,

I've been thinking about this post for a long time.

It's a big month for me,
thanks to you.

Last January, I started a blog
on a whim, really.

I wanted to write a diary of sorts,
of my life and the lives of my family,
so that I would remember how it was-
the good and the bad and everything in between.

You have followed our stories
and our lives.
Some of you have commented regularly,
for which I am always grateful.
Some of you comment here and there
and those are always appreciated too.

So, with this being my year anniversary
and with the hit counter hitting 10,000,
(and 39 countries represented...AWESOME!)
I wanted to give back to you
and say thank you.

There are lots of ways to say thank you
and lots of ways to express gratefulness.

This is a two-part contest:

The first part is to give the gift of gratefulness
as a gift to you, from me, to others.

I will donate $25 dollars to four different charities.
Go to the comment section, write me a comment
with your recommended charity and tell me why you chose it.
It can be a personal story that you share,
or an explanation of how the charity benefits others.
If you can link to a homepage of the charity
so others can see it, so much the better.

From those entries, I will pick four
and I will make the donations in your name.

The second part of the contest is this:
Write a comment listing your top three
favorite books of all time.
They can be childhood favorites, current favorites, whatever.
If you can, jot a brief blurb about what the book is about.
This will give other people great ideas for books they can read
and everyone will benefit.

For everyone who participates (one entry please, each)
I will put one entry in a hat.
The winner (to be chosen randomly January 5th)
will receive a box of books from me
and a $25 dollar gift card to Barnes and Noble.

I hope these contests sound fun to you!
I am excited to thank you
and together, help to make a difference for others.

And be nice.
If you have a blog, let others know about this contest!
Feel free to link to my blog.

Happy New Year, everyone.
You all ROCK!!!

(contest notes- One entry per contest per person. Each entrant must be 18 years old or older. Charity contest open to all, book contest open only to United States residents due to shipping costs. Entries must be submitted by 12 midnight, EST on 1/4/2008)



Melissa said...

I have several charities that I like, but the one I have supported the most recently is Heifer International. You can change lives with even a small gift and you can choose where in the world you would like to do it. Heifer helps to create a situation that fosters independence instead of dependence. They have a very good rating as far as the percentage of the gift that goes directly to those who need it and does not get tied up in bureacracy I have check it out with independent rating organizations. They have received an "A". Also, those that are helped by Heifer make a pledge to help others in need as well. You can check it out at

Melissa said...

Okay, books...
Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Loved this book for several reasons. It was a concept I had never read about before and it made me think that it wasn't impossible even though I know it is. It was a true love story. I bawled like a baby at the end.

Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr.
I read this book in a bible study last Christmas. It completely blew me away. I think I finally got what Advent is about and why it's important to prepare you heart and focus on what Christmas is really about.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
Beautiful and tragic story about friendship. It is so hard to read at times and your heart aches for the characters.

Anonymous said...

Great contest, Leeann! The charity I'm voting for is Doctors Without Borders ( It's a coalition of doctors and nurses who volunteer their services all over the world giving emergency medical treatment after natural disasters, war, health epidemics, etc. They also build wells for clean drinking water, provide food and shelter, and often perform this work in dangerous and unsafe conditions. It's been around for a long time and imo is one of the best organizations out there doing work worldwide.

Ok, books... I have such weird taste! lol My all-time favorites... The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer, Night by Elie Wiesel (which I read after visiting Dachau in Germany and years before Oprah discovered it. It should be required reading for everyone.), and How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter by Sherwin Nuland. Umm, why do all my choices deal with death? lol

Anonymous said...

Great contest, Leeann! Congratulations on your one-year anniversary. I hope it's the first of many to come.
The charity that I am nominating is Operation Smile. It's near to my heart for a couple of reasons, but first because it's based in Norfolk, Virginia, near where I live. But locale is not the main reason (PETA is also based in Norfolk; I'm not nominating them!) Bottom line, I'm choosing Operation Smile because there is nothing more precious than a child's smile. The purpose of Operation Smile is to provide free surgeries to children throughout the world (and in the United States as well) to correct facial deformities.
Now for three favorite books - that's hard to choose! One: Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier. I first read it in high school and still love it. I was so taken in by the glamorous lifestyle and haunted by how a girl could be so intimidated by another woman, even one that was dead. I think I need to re-read it again soon! Two: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. It's so deliciously tragic and dark, set during the plague in Europe in the 1600's. Three: reaching waaaaaaaaaaaay back in the archives ... Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I just love it. I wanted to be Laura growing up. I still sometimes long to live in those good ol' days, but then I remember that there was no Internet! Or hot showers.
That's it!

Natalie said...

Oh my word. This is totally awesome. You go, Girl!

My Favorite Charity:
We've benefitted from several cancer charities, but the one I feel most strongly about has got to be CureSearch ( Of course we'd heard of leukemia before Finn was diagnosed, but we were clueless. What did it mean? Was he dying today? Was he dying tomorrow? Would he die at all? We had so many questions, but we never thought of them at the right times. CureSearch is a place families can go for answers and support. It's amazing. And it's specific to PEDIATRIC cancer which seems to get the short end of the stick from other cancer research organizations. Thanks to CureSearch, we had (and still do have!) a place to go for answers and THEY are looking for answers and reducing the mortality rates of childhood cancer. I can't say enough good things about them. They are the reason more of our children are surviving cancer! I could go and on, but I'll stop. . .and put my book info in a separate entry before I crash the comments section. . .

This is so great to read about all of these different charities, Leeann!

Natalie said...

Books, glorious books!

When we moved last year, my Mom made me take boxes of books from my youth out of her house and bring them across the country with me. It was such a fun experience to look through the boxes and see what I liked then and compare to what I like now. Sadly, I haven't evolved a lot. My list is a mix of faves from then and now.

#3 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. History and romance--my two favorite subjects--all rolled into one. And the sex, the SEX! It's a total bodice ripper. But not in a sleezy, Fabio kind of way. There are seven books in the series so far--Outlander was the first and the best.

#2 A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. My cousin gave me this book (along with a bunch of others) as a gift for being a bridesmaid in her wedding. Best bridesmaid gift EVER! Books! Anyway, she chose this one because I was leaving two days after the wedding to work in Luxembourg for the summer. This is the story of the trials and tribulations of an English couple who move to Provence. I've read the book and listened to it on tape as well. There's also a movie. Hilarious and fun. I might have to read it again. Peter Mayle is such a vivid writer.

#1 My number one fave of all time has to be: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I want to be Elizabeth Bennett. But then again, doesn't everyone? As an aside, this winter Masterpiece Theater is running adaptations of all of Jane Austen's works! YAY!

I'll stop now. . .

Katie said...

My charity would be The American Syringomyelia Association Project ( I have Chiari Malformation/Syringomyelia and the money goes to research into genetic links and better surgical techniques and treatments. It's money that makes a difference for a lot of people who suffer from symptoms ranging from headaches to paralysis. I am now 5 weeks post-op from a surgery to help relieve constant headaches, eye problems and mild hand paralysis and though I'm doing so much better than I was before, the surgery is not necessarily a permanent fix. The more money and attention that goes to Chiari and Syringomyelia, the better the treatment options will eventually be.

My books:
1. "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see?": I knew the author (Bill Martin, Jr.) and he was an amazing man. I had a copy that he hand illustrated and read to us and so many wonderful childhood memories are tied to that silly little book. I have several copies that I'm saving for the children I'll eventually have.

2. My Sister's Keeper (Jodi Picoult): There's almost nothing uplifting about this book, but it's just addicting. Once you start reading you simply cannot put it down. And you'll bawl your eyes out, but it's beautifully written.

3. Beach Road (James Patterson): It's thrilling, requires absolutely no thought and you will never anticipate the ending. It blew me away.

By the way, I read all the time, but I think this is the first time I've signed the comments. I love the blog and I'm glad that you had the whim last year!

heartshapedhedges said...

Hi, Im new to your site, found you through Kristie's page ...and I love a contest, so had to hop on over :)

My charity is Alex's Lemonade

We actually met Kristie from an online support group for kids with cancer. My son had a high risk leukemia and battled for 3.5 years, and it put us in touch with a number of great charities; Ronald McDonald House, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Caringbridge and more....and our family has raised over $100k for charity ...and the one that I am selecting for your contest, is Alex's Lemonade, let me tell you why....

It's was started by a little girl, who just wanted to help herself and her cancer friends. She held her own little lemonade stand, bald head and all, and gave the money to her doctors. She didnt win her fight, but her sweet legacy lives on, and her organization has raised MILLIONS!!

The beauty, is that it is run by her parents and some volunteers. They hand select research for all pediatric cancers, where the money is needed most. No middle man, no beauracracy....if you go to their website, they list all of their research grants that they fund each year, you can see where the money goes, you will see that they give nice amounts of money to a variety of different types of research to help kids with cancer...I just love this charity!! I know they are making a difference.

And, now for my books....well, to keep with the theme....

1. Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand.

This book was written by Alex's is an adorable rhyming book, with whimsically, painted pictures. They managed to tell Alex's story with such an upbeat doesnt say she dies at the end, but it does inspire everyone to make lemons out of lemonade, a must have for any child's (or adults!) library.

2. The Giving this story!

3.The Tale of the Three Trees....a new book for us this year, and it was just fabulous, a unique yet powerful story about the meaning of Christmas.

ok...those are them :)

thanks for the fun contests!!

Anonymous said...

I have to add to mine thanks to Natalie up there. I totally forgot about A Year in Provence. I LOVE that one too! Can we pick 4 books? lol

Janet (I have to sign my name because I forgot my password and can't sign in now.)

Playful Professional said...

Wow... this is a contest I like. Not just commenting but really thinking about it. Here are my choices.

1-800-save-a-pet. I've been trying to find a kitty to adopt for the past couple weeks and realized how much charities for animals really do. I wish I could donate.

Playful Professional said...

Now for my books...there are way too many but here are some of my favorites.

Where the Red Fern Grows- this is one of the most heartfelt stories I've ever read even though it's juvenile literature. The story of a boy and his two dogs and their love is amazing. I cry every time.

Where the Wild Things Are- You said childhood so I started thinking about childhood books. This one is just a lot of fun and has great pictures.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle- I remember my mom reading this with me and my brother when we were kids. It's a great story, especially for young readers.

There you go, some of my all-time favorites.

nicrogers said...

Hey Leeann! Great contest. I love the charity idea. Good job!

Ok, so I have many favorite charities but I think my favorite charity is

I love this one because you can sponsor a child anywhere in the world, including the United States and you make a real difference in the life of that child. Or you can just make a donation. And a very large percentage of the funds that they take in go right to the children and not administrative costs.

As for books... I love to read but I am not the most sofistacted reader. When I sit down with a book it is for pure entertainment value.

I love series books and one of my all time favorites is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Love them!!

My second all time favorite books are the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. She makes me laugh out loud. So so funny.

My third favorite series are a newer series all though I love all of her books. Oh, right, the series is by Meg Cabot and they are the Heather Mills mystery series. Really funny. Her writing reminds me a lot of Janet Evanovich. I love all of Meg Cabots books though. She is awesome.

So there ya go! Thanks Leeann!

nicrogers said...

Did I really spell sophisticated that way? lol! Doy!

Lanny said...

My favorite charity is the Susuan G Komen foundation. I'm a huge fan of Race for the Cure. Unfortunately breast cancer has been diagnosed in both friends and family of mine. I've seen too many great women die. As we grow older, it's a very real possiblity for all of us.

I think both of your ideas (books and charity) are fabulous! Congrats on the one year mark, and thanks for the mention and kind words! :)

Lanny said...

Books? Narrowing it down will be difficult, but I'll give it a try.

1) I'm not sure if this counts as one, but I love the entire Little House series (Laura Ingalls Wilder). I reading about her pioneer life as a child. When I taugh, I read various books from the series to my students. My favorite book to read to my kids was Framer Boy because the boys loved it too. We always made ice cream the old fashion way after we finished the book. That was always a blast!

2) The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger) is another favorite. I didn't want to put it down. The author wove the story very well.

3) Is a tie between The Story of Three Trees (we have the version retold by Hunt) and The Crippled Lamb (Max Lucado). Both are faith based stories that Linus and I love to read.

Splaneyo said...

Like everyone else, I this is a great idea. My favorite is hard to pick one, but I would say Leukemia & Lymphoma Society because this year our lives have been touched by this illness through Spencer's school friend.

Books...Also a hard one:
Anything Shel Silverstein
Anything John Irving (guilty pleasure)
Anything Maeve Binchy (another one, what can I say?)

Congratulations on your blogging success!

Lori - The Simple Life at Home said...

Sorry to be so late joining in, but I've been trying to focus on Ibrahim before he leaves.

My charity would be Sanctuary of Moses. Founded by a friend of mine, this ministry works in Benin, Africa trying to protect children from becoming child slaves. Still very rampant in poverty-stricken West Africa, child slavery is very real there. Sanctuary of Moses provides education and a safe community to live in (many children are snatched as they trek miles to bring water to their family). I blogged about it if you are interested in finding out more.

Books. Just three, huh? Man, that's tough. But here are my picks:

1) Anything by Jodi Picoult - I love her books (ok, maybe not the last one). I always come away unsettled and challenged to think about issues in a new way. She always goes somewhere unexpected.

2) The Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro - I think this is the funniest book I have ever read. Like, spitting your drink out funny. I laughed so hard I couldn't speak to tell Ibrahim what was so funny.

3) Nancy Drew books - I LOVED these as a young girl. She was a great role model - spunky, smart, kind, brave. Everything I wanted to be. And she had a cute boyfriend and a cool car. What more could one want?

So those are my choices. What a fun way to do it, Leeann! Thanks!

Lanny said...

Just noticed my mistake...I can spell Traveler correctly. Although more books to read might help my spelling! *Kidding!*

Jean said...

I found you at Org Junkies site and can't pass up a giveaway.
I love the Anne of Green Gables Series.
This year I read The Kite Runner and it's up there with my all time faves.
Peace Like a River is also a great one.
Pride and Predjuidice or anything pretty much written by Jane Austen