Christmas + Simple = JOY!

The simple solution is often right under our noses.

That's where I found my solution for how to celebrate Christmas with integrity, with such short prep time. No time to knit sweaters or afghans, no time to compose lengthy prose to highlight the occasion, no time to load up on glittery wrappings and create elaborate presentations.

But plenty of time to honor my loved ones with gifts of hope, sustainability, emergency care, and spiritual nourishment to those who really need it. It was "right under my nose" because I've known about World Vision for years. Our family has sponsored a 13 year old girl, Noeme, in Peru for two years through WV. But I always forget about their program (like The Heifer Project) of gifting needy families with livestock to raise, to help them pull themselves out of poverty and illiteracy. Different kinds of animals are appropriate for different countries and for people in different situations. Donors can also choose different animals based on their personal budgets (e.g., chickens are less expensive than alpacas).

In addition to their gift-animal program, WV works tirelessly for women and girls in poverty, helping them start small businesses and pulling them out of the exploiting sex-trades, and bringing clean water to destitute communities. World Vision has consistently received the highest rating from watch dog groups who evaluate charities' business practices: financial accountability with low overhead costs, etc.

I'm so excited, thinking about the families who will enjoy the companionship and products that come from new livestock in their homes or yards - just like me. We share the love of the animals, and they get to eat regular meals and maybe go to school. What a privilege for me to contribute to that sweet family in that way!

As you can see, I'm a sold-out fan. And now, I'm just about ready for Christmas. And my heart is filled with JOY!

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