Friday, December 30, 2011

Child-Centered Spaces Help Children Recover

"ChildFund continues to provide emergency relief aid to 2,000 children and families in the hard-hit province of Cagayan de Oro, in the wake of flashfloods and landslides brought about by Typhoon Washi [known locally as Sendong], on Dec. 16.

The relief packs ChildFund is distributing contain food supplies (rice, dried fish, bottled water, canned sardines and noodles), as well as essential non-food items including cookware, laundry detergent, hygiene kits and intimates. All of these items are much needed by families who’ve lost all their belongings, if not their homes as well."

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Make yourself exercise in the winter, says AARP

"AARP guest blogger,  Annie Lynsen, writes that combating the blahs of winter can lull exercise into hibernating until spring. Wake it up by making your exercise mandatory by helping others, Lynsen says."

Start your winter exercise program by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shrimp Farming in the Vegas Desert

"Nearly a decade ago, I drove northeast out of the Davis Mountains of west Texas into the barren plain of the Permian Basin on the advice of a gourmand I trust. His directions: detour 25 miles off of IH-10 to a tiny town called Imperial and ask for a lean, weathered marine biologist named Bart. There, in the most landlocked place imaginable, Bart the biologist would provide me the most delicious shrimp I had ever eaten, grown in his backyard."

To read more, click here.

United Nations downgrades some famine zones in Somalia

"The United Nations has officially downgraded the famine situation parts of Somalia: in Bakaool, lower Shabelle and Bay. At the peak of the crisis, malnutrition was affecting 53 percent of the population in some areas of Somalia, now, that figure has fallen below the famine threshold of 30 percent. But although conditions have begun to improve in the Horn of Africa for some, challenges remain great for the families who live there and the aid workers trying to respond."

Click here to read more.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Unborn son's struggle inspires Christian singer

"Told that his unborn son had only half a heart and little chance to survive, the lead singer of the Christian rock band Sanctus Real began pouring his fears and doubts into music.

The songs were meant to comfort his family while they searched for answers and sought to understand God's role during the months before and after the baby's birth that were filled with surgeries and life-threatening complications.

It didn't take long for him to realize that his words needed to be shared so that others struggling with life would know they're not alone."

Read more here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Justin Bieber Backs 'Social Good' Facebook Game, WeTopia, Benefiting Children

"Justin Bieber, global pop/R&B phenomenon, will be spreading the joy of reading to U.S. and Haitian school children. Bieber announced earlier this week that he will provide entertainment marketing support to Sojo Studios new slate of 'social good' games, beginning with WeTopia. WeTopia benefits charitable projects in the United States and abroad, including Save the Children's summer literacy program in Appalachian Kentucky and textbooks for children in Haiti."

Read more about Bieber's participation here.

5 tips for choosing a charity for your year-end giving

"We've all heard the advice: Get your charitable donations in before the clock strikes midnight on December 31--or say goodbye to potential tax breaks. But how to make sure you're choosing the best charity in the first place? Here are 5 tips for making the most of your charitable dollars before we ring in the new year."

Click here for more on making good charitable choices. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Orleans puppeteer Karen Konnerth wins young audiences at home and abroad

"For some, the coming week is the quiet time between national holidays. For parents, it means, 'What will we do with the kids?'

Puppeteer Karen Konnerth has a few ideas, even if you can’t make it to her puppet-making workshop on Thursday (Dec. 29) or the Dec. 30 performance at her Algiers Point studio."

Read more about this talented woman here.

Donors save Christmas for Toys for Tots Chicagoland

"A generous donor stepped forward Tuesday, helping save Christmas for a local charity and doing it all in the name of a legendary Chicago Bear."

Click here  to read about this tribute to the late Sid Luckman.

Chuck Colson and John Stonestreet interview T. M. Moore about the theology of Christmas Carols

"On this special, weekend edition of BreakPoint, Chuck Colson and John Stonestreet discuss the deeper significance behind the lyrics of our most popular Christmas tunes."

Listen here for more on the theology of Christmas carols.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Big Top is a big part of New Orleans' International School

"In a raucous common space known as the cafetorium, students laugh as they tumble, flip and unicycle through a sea of props and primary-colored mats. Plates spin, stilt-walkers shuffle past, and all nimble-fingered children juggle. This is a classroom at the International School of Louisiana, 1400 Camp St., where all students learn circus arts as part of the school day."

Click here to learn more about this unusual school.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Signposts to God: Socrates in the City

"What do universal human experiences tell us about humans? More importantly, what do they point to?"

Click here for Chuck Colson's answers.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent Meditation: Pausing to Ponder the Appearance of Christ

"The Advent season is upon us. Although I have observed Christmas my entire life, I think this is the first year I am truly, deliberately celebrating Advent -- Christ’s appearing.

Growing up, I loved the Christmas season. I’m a romantic idealist at heart, and twinkling trees, soft carols, and candlelight services never ceased to be enchanting. I also loved baked goods. But then, somewhere around age 25, everything about it grew rather lackluster. The traditions felt rote, and the significance of the season seemed completely lost, buried underneath endless evergreen lots, store sales, and busy holiday itineraries."

Read more of Annie Provencher's meditation here. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Save the Children Partners with Discovery Kids to Help Children Affected by Floods in Central America

"Save the Children is pleased to announce a new partnership with Discovery Kids, the leading network in children's programming from the portfolio of Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic, to support families struggling through severe floods in Central America. Through online marketing tools, included at the parent section of its website,, the channel is raising awareness of children affected by flooding in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua."

Read more here.

Holiday retail sales stall as some charities see big jump in donations online

"In the wake of record Black Friday shopping numbers, retail sales for the first week of December appear to be stalled as holiday shoppers went online to donate to charities. World Vision, the Christian relief and development organization, saw online donations to its popular Gift Catalog jump ten percent compared to this time last year. In 2010, the Gift Catalog raised more than $32 million in total. This year’s goal is $34 million."

Click here to read more.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New 'gold standard' for aid worker training aims to improve humanitarian support for disaster-hit communities

"Communities affected by major disasters will receive higher quality support from aid workers thanks to a groundbreaking new tool which aims to improve the standard of training humanitarian workers receive.

The new Trainer Competency Framework is being billed as a future ‘gold standard’ quality mark for capacity building in the aid and development sector. It will ensure that aid workers receive appropriate training content via proven teaching and learning methods from skilled, professional trainers. It has been developed by disaster relief charity RedR UK and French humanitarian agency Bioforce."

Learn more here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Books to buy your kids for Christmas

"Does your teen or preteen enjoy finding books under the Christmas tree? We've got just the thing! Our reviewers have come up with a list of great books to buy for your kids this Christmas. Click below to see the list, and happy shopping!"

Click here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Home for David: Fostering a Love for Orphans

"We hear a lot about orphans these days. Pictures of Angelina Jolie jostling an African child on her hip jump out on the pages of People magazine. We learn about the tens of thousands of abandoned Chinese orphans waiting for someone to adopt them.

Many Christians respond by writing a check to support organizations that care for orphans. That is essential and vitally important, and God bless you if you contribute. But there’s even more that you and I can do."

Read more here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Poll: What's the worst Christmas song ever?

It's easy to forget how much bad Christmas music there is out there until radio stations, malls and family and friends start playing it 24/7. Everybody seems to have a holiday song that he or she hates.

Watch the videos of our five least favorites,  then cast your vote for the Worst Christmas Song of All in our reader poll at the bottom of this post."

Watch, listen and vote here.

Rare albino dolphin is found in Brazil

"Brazilian biologists have found an extremely rare example of an albino dolphin among an endangered species that lives off the southern coast of South America.

The research group, based at Univille university in Santa Catarina, said Thursday that it was the first recorded instance of an albino in the pontoporia blainvillei species, a very shy type of dolphin that rarely jumps out of the water. It's known in Brazil as Toninha and in Argentina and Uruguay as the La Plata or Franciscana dolphin."

Want to read more? Click here!

Facing bankruptcy, Postal Service pushes forward with big cuts to first-class mail next spring

"Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.

The estimated $3 billion in reductions, to be announced in broader detail on Monday, are part of a wide-ranging effort by the cash-strapped Postal Service to quickly trim costs, seeing no immediate help from Congress."

Click here for more on the potential changes.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dual Commissions: Evangelizing and Engaging Culture

"It’s not an either-or situation. It’s a both-and. I’m talking about fulfilling the Great Commission and the Cultural Commission."

Click here to read more of Chuck Colson's thoughts.