Thursday, December 31, 2015

The End of My Month-Long Causes and Effect Blog Run


(Note: For the month of December, I took over the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog, which was created by Melinda Newman in 2013. Today was my thirty-first and final post for that blog. The words below made up the majority that post, entitled "Three Final Donations to Wrap us 2015.")

I have a confession to make:

I almost backed out of taking over this blog for the month of December.

When I found out late last year that Causes and Effect creator Melinda Newman was looking for 12 individuals to take over the reins of the blog in 2015, I was quick to throw my name into the ring. And I was incredibly excited when I got picked to be one of the blog's writers for a whole month. The only downside was that I was assigned to December and had to wait almost a whole year before I could dive into writing.

Then life happened.

Despite being grossly underemployed for the second year in a row, 2015 was a great year for me. But the lack of a decent income reared its ugly head around mid-year when a series of unfortunate events started to happen. At times I felt a bit like Lemony Snicket.

First the washing machine broke. Not surprising, really, since it came with the house when we bought it ten years ago, and it had probably been in the house at least ten years before that. Buying a new one was inevitable. While we were at it, my wife and I decided to splurge and buy a matching dryer, too. After all, the dryer was also pretty ancient, and we had never bought a brand new washer or dryer before. So forking over the money for a shiny pair of appliances wasn't that painful.

Speaking of pain, as 2015 went along I started waking up with a sore back and neck with some regularity, which I attributed to the fact that our mattress was about 15 years old. So my wife and I opened up the checkbook to buy a new mattress and foundation.

See, that's the problem when you age: everything you own ages, too. And it needs replacing. Like our gas range, which decided to die in the middle of baking a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies in late October. And the custom canvas awnings above our front and side doors that got shredded in a November wind storm and had to be replaced. Again, these were things that came along with the house and had just worn out. (For what it's worth, I had no idea that awnings could be so damn expensive.)

Things settled down a bit until some annoying episodes of atrial fibrillation--an irregular heart rhythm--started kicking my ass. After almost 18 years of having that condition kept in check by medication, I decided to have a catheter ablation done on my heart to try and fix the problem permanently. Because we buy our own health insurance, which has a pretty high deductible, that procedure ended up costing us quite a bit out-of-pocket. It was definitely well worth it, but it was also another unexpected expense incurred in 2015.

Lastly, just to put some icing on the proverbial cake, my wife and I bought a second car late in the year. Having one car is something we've done for a long time, but sometimes it's a bit inconvenient. So when the opportunity to buy a 2007 Ford Focus that a friend of ours was selling at a ridiculously good price presented itself, we figured what the hell. (Believe it or not, the car was the cheapest of all the purchases I've mentioned in this post.)

Now back to my concerns about this blog. It wasn't the writing that I was worried about; it was the money. Because the idea behind Causes and Effect isn't only to write about charities and good causes, it's to donate to them, too. At least $10.00 a day times 31 days meant that my family would be spending at least another $310.00 during the month of December (which is more than we paid for the Focus!).

I wondered if I should just throw in the towel and tell Melinda that I couldn't do the blog. Surely she'd understand. And it wasn't like she wouldn't be able to find somebody else to do it, right? But something inside of me told me to stick with it.

There are two things I know about money:

1. It really isn't everything.
2. There's always somebody who needs it more than you do.

I think that's the essence of the Causes and Effect blog. The idea that giving, even if it sometimes hurts a little, is the most incredibly rewarding thing you can do. Knowing that you are helping others and making a difference, no matter how small, just makes you feel good.

Writing the Causes and Effect blog this month has been one of the most amazing, gratifying things I've ever done. It's taught me so much, not just about writing--like how hard it is to sit down and write a reasonably meaningful piece every single day--but about life. I’m so glad I didn't back out of this wonderful opportunity.

Thanks to Melinda Newman (and Brian Mansfield) for having faith in my ability to take care of this blog for 31 days. Hopefully I've done a decent job. And a very special thanks to my wife, Kathy, for her willingness to let Causes and Effect become an integral part of our lives for the month of December. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Now let's just hope the refrigerator, dishwasher, and furnace behave themselves for a while longer.

"Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides....When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back." --Anne Lamott

Causes and Effect, 12/31/15: The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Shatterproof, and the Herren Project

The thirty-first--and final--post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, three separate charities--the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Shatterproof, and the Herren Project--are recipients of $10.00 donations from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to any (or all) of these charities, you can do so at these links:
Thirty-one down. No more to go. I'm done. It's been a great ride.

Peace.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/30/15: The Love Bus

The thirtieth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, The Love Bus: Sex Ed on the Move GoFundMe campaign is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to this campaign, you can do so here:
Thirty down, one to go.

Peace.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/29/15: WDET 101.9FM, Detroit

The twenty-ninth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, WDET 101.9FM, Detroit is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to WDET, you can do so here:
Twenty-nine down down, two to go.

Peace.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/28/15: To Write Love on Her Arms.

The twenty-eighth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to TWLOHA, you can do so here:
Twenty-eight down down, three to go.

Peace.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/27/15: Help Get Gas Money (GoFundMe Campaign)

The twenty-seventh post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Help Get Gas Money GoFundMe campaign is the recipient of a $20.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to this campaign, you can do so here:
Twenty-seven, four to go.

Peace.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/26/15: Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation, One Spirit, and Afghans for Afghans

The twenty-sixth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, three separate charities--Friends of Pine Ridge Reservation, One Spirit, and Afghans for Afghans--are recipients of $10.00 donations from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to any (or all) of these charities, you can do so at these links:
Twenty-six down down, five to go.

Peace.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/25/15: St. Andrew Church

The twenty-fifth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City, California, is the recipient of a $100.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to St. Andrew Church, you can send a check to them at this address:

St. Andrew Church
101 Donahue
Marin City, CA 94930

Twenty-five down down, six to go.

Peace. And merry Christmas to you and yours.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/24/15: atTAcK addiction

The twenty-fourth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, atTAcK addiction is the recipient of a $25.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the atTAcK addiction, you can do so here:
Twenty-four down down, seven to go.

Peace.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/23/15: Lupus Foundation of America

The twenty-third post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the LFA, you can do so here:
Twenty-three down down, eight to go.

Peace.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/22/15: The Compassion Collective

The twenty-second post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:

Today, the Compassion Collective is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the Compassion Collective, you can do so here:
Twenty-two down down, nine to go.

Peace.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/21/15: Dawn Farm

The twenty-first post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Dawn Farm is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to Dawn Farm, you can do so here:
Twenty-one down down, ten to go.

Peace.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/20/15: Detroit Youth Volume

The nineteenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Detroit Youth Volume (DYV) is the recipient of two $10.00 donations from my family: one for their organization and another for their Kickstarter campaign. If you would like to make a contribution to the DYV, you can do so here:
Or here:

Detroit Youth Volume's Kickstarter campaign

Twenty down down, eleven to go.

Peace.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/19/15: Work Options for Women (WOW)

The nineteenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Work Options for Women (WOW) is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the WOW, you can do so here:
Nineteen down down, twelve to go.

Peace.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/18/15: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

The eighteenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, you can do so here:
Eighteen down down, thirteen to go.

Peace.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/17/15: SLAM NYC

The seventeenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, SLAM NYC is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to SLAM NYC, you can do so here:
Seventeen down down, fourteen to go.

Peace.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/16/15: Supporting Crystal and Jeremiah (GoFundMe Campaign)

The sixteenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Supporting Crystal and Jeremiah GoFundMe campaign is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to this campaign, you can do so here:
Sixteen down, fifteen to go.

Peace.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/15/15: Heifer International

The fifteenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Heifer International is the recipient of a $20.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to Heifer International, you can do so here:
Fifteen down, sixteen to go.

Peace.

Monday, December 14, 2015

What I've Been up To

I got to thinking this morning that a lot of you out there might be wondering what I've been up to. After all, it's been more than a month since I've posted a "real" post on this blog. So let me explain.

The last month of my life has been super busy. Between flare-ups of my atrial fibrillation, the decision to finally go ahead with a heart ablation, getting that procedure done, and taking over the Causes and Effect daily giving blog for December...well, let's just say things have been a bit chaotic. And on top of all that, I'm still doing freelance writing, helping moderate online forums about drug abuse and recovery, and looking for a full-time job.

It's funny. I haven't had a full-time job in more than two years now, but somehow I seem to be busier than ever, albeit with less money. And that's okay.

Just know that I'm still around, and that I'm still working my butt off to help break the stigma associated with addiction, although I get a bit sidetracked sometimes.

For the time being, you can expect me to post daily links to my Causes and Effect blog posts. I'm 14 days into that run and have 17 more to go. After that, things will calm down a bit and I should be able to get back on a more regular "My Life as 3D" schedule.

FYI, my ablation happened on the ninth of this month and went off without a hitch. My electrophysiologist said he was "very aggressive" and that I'm "going to be good." So far, he's right. My heart rhythm feels as normal as it ever has. Here's hoping it stays that way.

My son is also doing well. His depression still creeps up on him from time to time, but I think he's close to agreeing to see the new psychiatrist I mentioned here a while back. Fingers and toes crossed on that one.

Thanks for reading my blog, people. I really appreciate the support. You have no idea. And a special thanks to Anne Lamott, who blew my mind over on Twitter today. I'm posting a screenshot of her tweet below, but if you want to see it "live," you can do so at this link:

How Anne Lamott Blew My Mind Today

Peace and hugs.

Mind. F*cking. Blown.

Causes and Effect, 12/14/15: Help Ingrid Recover from Surgery (GoFundMe Campaign)

The fourteenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Help Ingrid Recover from Surgery GoFundMe campaign is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to this campaign, you can do so here:
Fourteen down, seventeen to go.

Peace.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/13/15: Motown Museum

The thirteenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Motown Museum is the recipient of a $30.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the Motown Museum, you can do so here:
Thirteen down, eighteen to go.

Peace.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/12/15: Wheeling Forward

The twelfth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Wheeling Forward is the recipient of a $25.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to Wheeling Forward, you can do so here:
Twelve down, nineteen to go.

Peace.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/11/15: #ChadTough

The eleventh post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Chad Tough Foundation is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the Chad Tough Foundation, you can do so here:
Eleven down, twenty to go.

Peace.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/10/15: Marching Band Uniforms for GP South GoFundMe Campaign

The tenth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Marching Band Uniforms for GP South GoFundMe campaign is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to this campaign, you can do so here:
Ten down, twenty-one to go.

Peace.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/9/15: Heart Rhythm Society

The ninth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Heart Rhythm Society is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the Heart Rhythm Society, you can do so here:
Nine down, twenty-two to go.

Peace.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/7/15: National Military Family Association

The seventh post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the National Military Family Association (NMFA) is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the NMFA, you can do so here:
Seven down, twenty-four to go.

Peace.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/6/15: Forgotten Harvest

The sixth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Forgotten Harvest is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to Forgotten Harvest, you can do so here:

Six down, twenty-five to go.

Peace.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/5/15: The Ark

The fifth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the recipient of a $100.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the Ark, you can do so here:

The Ark's contributions page

You can also become of member of the Ark here:

The Ark's membership page

Five down, twenty-six to go.

Peace.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/4/15: Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter

The fourth post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter (FFDAS) is the recipient of a $20.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to FFDAS, you can do so here:


Four down, twenty-seven to go.

Peace.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/3/15: Sandy Hook Promise

The third post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, Sandy Hook Promise is the recipient of a $26.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to Sandy Hook Promise, you can do so here:


Three down, twenty-eight to go.

Peace.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/2/15: Al Gustafson

The second post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Alan Gustafson--Living with ALS YouCaring crowdfunding campaign is the recipient of a $20.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to this campaign, you can do so here:


Two down, twenty-nine to go.

Peace.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Causes and Effect, 12/1/15: The Leelanau School

The first post of my month-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, Michigan, is the recipient of a $50.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the Leelanau School, you can do so here:


One down, thirty to go.

Peace.