Supporting One Another with Pro Bono

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I must admit the political chaos of recent weeks has me daydreaming for the serenity we enjoyed on our Octoberfest Brewery Tour. We did a lot of slow-paced beach time, both on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, and there’s nothing more calming than the ebb and flow of waves washing over the sand.

We came upon this idyllic scene while hiking the Sleeping Bear Dunes, near Traverse City, Michigan. Such a simple formation, isn’t it? A few stones balancing one upon the other. While the rest of the world was arguing over who belongs where and whose individual rights are more important, these four stones were quietly supporting one another amid a strong lakefront breeze.

Support Enables Balance

Author Thomas Merton said “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” This thought can also be applied to success, whether it’s success of a business or a non-profit organization. For that, we need to work together. We need to support one another.

In thankfulness for all my clients do for me, November is the month I pass it forward. Each year Adunate accepts two pro bono projects for greatly reduced or no cost. These are projects I strongly support and believe will positively impact God’s creation, his people, or his ministry.

My interests include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Agriculture & Animals
  • Architecture
  • Arts
  • Children
  • Environment
  • Faith
  • History
  • Humanity
  • Food & Drink
  • Sustainability

If your organization needs creative support in the coming year, click here for an application. Then, to guarantee your project’s success, be sure to click here!

My deadline for submissions is December 31, 2016. I will let applicants know of my decision in January.

Giving Tuesday: The Easiest Way to Put Christ Back in Christmas!

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Last week I was stopped at a Madison intersection along side this gentleman. “Homeless,” his sign read. “Anything helps.” I gave him some money, wished him God’s blessings and moved on with the green light.

Homeless. Jobless. Sick child. Hungry dog. These are the signs of street beggars. They populate our cities and evoke a complexity of consciousness. Most of us, myself included, waver between sympathetic tugs of the heart and hardened, self-righteous judgements. We wonder if giving money will help the homeless get out of the cold for the night. Or, we presumptuously assume we’re funding a “fix” for their addiction.

What are we as Christians to do?

Fortunately, God makes it a no-brainer. Throughout the Bible he repeatedly gives three instructions 1) Give to the Poor, 2) Do not judge, and 3) Spread Christ’s love. Since today is Giving Tuesday, I’ve come up with a quick and easy way to do all three.

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Here you go!

It’s the DIY Giving Envelope for your earthly and spiritual giving. Sized to fit your wallet, it’s ready to grab whenever you’re on the go. It handily showcases encouraging Bible passages without hiding the gift inside.

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I designed the DIY Giving Envelope with easy-to-read fonts for mega-quick scanning. Oh, I know, a homeless person might easily take the money and throw the envelope aside. But someone’s got to pick it up, right? Who knows what God has planned for this fibrous voice of optimism?

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The envelope opens wide so you can write the contact info of a welcoming organization on the inside. Best of all, this is a DIY that’s super easy to make!

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DIY Giving Envelope

  1. Click here for the full size PDF template.
  2. Print, fold in half on horizontal dotted line, and cut out around the solid line.
  3. Fold on the vertical dotted line to create an end for the envelope.
  4. Put in some money, keep in a handy place.
  5. You’re done! An easy five minutes, tops.

Finally, I understand some people conscientiously do not feel comfortable giving money to the homeless. You feel more responsible donating to a charitable organization. A heartfelt kudos to you. Perhaps you’d rather brighten someone’s day by leaving this DYI Giving Envelope in a returned library book or doctor’s office magazine. No matter how you give or to whom, know you’re offering a touch of God’s love. Do so with a prayer for the recipient!

Happy Giving Tuesday!

October is Co-op Month!

Willy Street Co-op, Madison, WI

My favorite grocery store is Willy Street Co-op in Madison. At first I liked it because of its hip, earthy scene and ever-smiling faces. Then, as my food consciousness grew, I appreciated it for its quality products and local providers. Now, after years of membership, I proudly continue being part of an owner-operated, community-minded organization that positively impacts Wisconsin, both economically and environmentally.

That’s a co-op for you.

October is National Cooperative Month and this year’s theme is “Cooperatives Build.” A cooperative is a business or organization that is owned and operated jointly by its members, all of whom share the profits and have a voice in how the organization is run. You can find co-ops in every industry and throughout the world. In Wisconsin alone, there are more than 700 cooperatives serving three million member-owners.

What makes cooperatives so special?

Seven principles, actually. These were established by the International Cooperative Alliance and are considered standards for the cooperative movement:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Co-operation among Co-operatives
  7. Concern for Community

Simply put, cooperatives are a bringing together of people for the good of all—an economic democracy, if you will. Cooperatives create a buying and selling power that often isn’t available to people individually. Cooperatives sustain family businesses, fair trade, communities and natural resources.

National Co-op Month is a nod to the thousands of cooperatives across the U.S., from food stores, to credit unions, to insurance mutuals, and everything in between.

Thanks, co-ops. You’ve got my nod as well!

 

Packing Our Bags for Octoberfest 2016!

Octoberfest Brewery Tour 2016, promotional posterThe days have been on fast-forward lately and I’m working feverishly to wrap up several projects. On top of that, I’ve been doing some creative work for myself. As you can see, our annual Octoberfest Brewery Tour is just around the corner!

I’ve Perfected My Google Map (layer upon layer)

Octoberfest Brewery Tour 2016

This year our roads will follow the downpours of beer taps and waterfalls. It didn’t take much research on my part to find there are plenty of both along the shores of Lakes Michigan and Superior. The falls have been long been nature’s gift. The breweries? Well, it’s über exciting to know the handcrafted beer industry has spread to even the remotest peninsulas of U.P. Michigan. Prost! To those crafters who go forth with entrepreneurial (and tasty!) gusto, you have our love!

And to the Lake Express ferry: We’ll see you bright and early for a 6 a.m. sail. Heading into an eastern sunrise will be a glorious start to this year’s tour!

Stay tuned and catch my pictures on Instagram.

Beekeeping and My Season of Growth

Jars of honey on beehiveSo my tenure as beekeeper has come to an end. Rather abruptly, I might add. Last weekend bald-faced hornets invaded my hive and even though my guard bees fought valiently—there was a massive swarm of agitation happening at the entrance of the hive—it appears the hornets have won. This week most of my bees are gone. So are about six frames of lush, unharvested honey.

Lucky for me, I had harvested my share of honey the week before. Those unharvested frames, those I left for the bee’s winter feed; those were my “reinvesting and saving portions of the harvest for yet another season of growth.” A season that apparently is not going to happen.

Yes, and no.

Yes, I’m disappointed. The nurturer in me feels bad, like I somehow let down my bees. But my disappointment isn’t overwhelming and I’m choosing to relish the sweet side. Being a newbie, I allowed myself low expectations based on the many challenges facing today’s beekeepers. I knew this would be a season of learning and, wow, I’ve learned a lot. All summer I enjoyed watching my bees forage from one group of plants to another. I became conscious of the summer’s detailed progression in ways I previously hadn’t observed. And honey! Just look at that sweet, golden honey! I hadn’t anticipated harvesting any this first year, but those little troopers worked so hard to share.

As a beekeeper I’ve had a temporary setback, but not for long. Next spring I’ll be ordering more bees and another summer of fun!

In the meantime, I’m interested in this organization: The Honeybee Conservancy. The Honeybee Conservancy is a non-profit organization responding to the bee crisis. Check out its Sponsor-A-Hive program, which puts hives in schools and community gardens across the nation. Think of the educational opportunities! The pollinating potential!

The Honeybee Conservancy is a way to “share the harvest with others” and reinvest portions for “yet another season of growth.” Writer Denis Waitley says it so well, doesn’t he?

Care to donate? Currently, a $5000 grant is matching every dollar donated.

Want a hive for your school? The deadline for registration is November 11, 2016.

Want a FREE educator’s kit? Think lesson plans, worksheets to “build reading and science skills, raise environmental awareness, and empower students to help the bees.”