12.07.2011

Baffled

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the holiday season. The post was never intended to be negative, or controversial, or offensive.

Instead, it was written with the sincerest hope and optimism... that maybe someone, somewhere would feel inspired to make a difference. Maybe someone would decide to donate this Christmas.  Maybe someone would choose to volunteer their time. Maybe someone would offer help to another someone... a person or animal... who has nothing and no one.

I received many positive, encouraging comments and messages about that post. In fact, it did inspire many to change some of their lifelong holiday habits. It inspired many to volunteer with their family this season. It inspired many to donate to those in need. It inspired many to ask others to join them.

Most of all, it made people think. It planted a seed. Maybe a tiny seed... but a seed nonetheless. A seed of change... with the potential to grow into the world we should all hope to see one day.

And honestly, that's enough for me...

However, as always, I received some negative feedback, both publicly and privately. Of course, I expected as much, and I'm honestly okay with it.

But I won't lie... it baffles me a little... and here's why...

I wrote a post about giving to others. I mentioned the children around the world without toys or clothes. I mentioned the people without food or shelter. I mentioned the animals without love or hope.

I noted the fact that many of our loved ones don't really "need" anything... but we still buy them gifts every Christmas... because that's what we're "supposed to do." That was never to say that our loved ones don't deserve gifts... or that all gift giving is bad or completely unnecessary. It just means that most of us don't really need much. Which is true.

Further, I referred to the many people and animals on this earth... who do have needs --simple, basic needs-- that cannot be met... without our help.

I also talked about the impact of these holiday traditions on our children... who represent the future of this world. I suggested that we should use the holidays to teach them about the joy of giving to those in need... so they may go out into the world with an appreciation for what they have... and the desire to make a difference for those who aren't as fortunate. I also mentioned how it's a massive disservice to deny our children of that joy. And it is.

Basically, I wrote about the season for giving... and noted that much of the giving is gifted to those who don't really need it. I shared my thoughts on how things should be. And then, I conveyed my hope for change...

Even now... in restating my message from yesterday's post, I'm truly blown away that anyone could be offended by those words. I'm baffled that anyone would disagree with an honest perception of the true reason for the season. I'm saddened that so many people feel the need to defend their current actions... instead of feeling compelled to do something truly amazing for this world.

If you were offended by my post... it's not because I tried to offend you. If you were upset, angry, or annoyed, it's not because of my negative intent. And if you felt the need to defend your actions, then it seems you missed the entire point.

If you took issue with my words, then maybe you should ask yourself why you felt that way. Really... ask yourself. Because I can almost guarantee.... that it has very little to do with me or what I said. And honestly, I shouldn't be blamed for any guilt you may have felt... just because I presented the truth.

No one should ever be condemned for honest attempts to make the world a better place. That's all I ever try to do... and I will not apologize for it. :)

*To everyone who was inspired to make a difference this holiday season... thank you... for also inspiring me. YOU can & will change the world with your amazing, selfless actions.  

47 comments:

  1. Some people are assholes. Pure & simple. If they can find something to bitch about...they will. If they can find a way to berate & belittle those of us who are good people & just trying to make a change...they will. Miserable little trolls. Just better if they'd all crawl under a miserable little bridge & leave the rest of us alone.
    You're a great person Ashley & I admire all you're trying to do. Don't let 'em get to ya! They're not worth it. ;-) Just my opinion. ...& you know what they say about those. ;-P

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  2. Well said indeed and KEEP telling it like it is!

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  3. So glad that you understand that the negativity stems from their emotional health or lack thereof and not you.

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  4. you know what? i think some people WANT to be offended, so they are.

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  5. I read u post and I agreed with all u said. I got what u meant and IR intentions. If someone doesn't understand ur point of view, then I can't understand why they read ur blogs. U speak the truth and ur willingness and life purpose is spent doing the right thing. So for u to be questioned by ur intentions truly boggles my mind. Ur a animal angel and the world needs more ppl like u. Colleen Byrd granite falls NC

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  6. I was not offended by what I read. I just went to The Animal Rescue Site and did my little bit of shopping, feed 98 dogs as well. They have a page that helps people and animals around the world. You can help sponsor a village, feed dogs, horses or other animals. Give these in other peoples names. That is what the season is really about, helping those less fortunate. Thanks for your blogg. We spend money on people that we hardly talk to all year and then spend the next year paying for it. Open your hearts this year to those that really need your help.

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  7. Ashley, I am so proud of you for what you do and some people really have no idea what a blessing you truly are. Don't let their comments hurt you they are just words.The only way things can hurt you is if you let them.

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  8. I did give and feel so good about it. I gave to you and your dogs the other day. God Bless You. Don't pay attention to the naysayers! We can prayer for them and hope God will change their attitude.

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  9. I am not offended by what you wrote, in fact, it is what I've been saying for years!!! I work in retail and see the shopping frenzy during this time of year!! Having to deal with rude, uncaring people in search of that perfect gift makes it one of the most unpleasant times of the year for those of us in retail!! I wish more people would give "time with their families" and "charity to those less forunate" as gifts, so we in retail wouldn't have to be at work on Black Friday at ridiculous hours!!! Charity is the gift that keeps on giving!!!

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  10. Karma, Ashley, karma.

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  11. While I don't read your posts every day, I have caught several and thankfully caught the ones from yesterday and today. From one rescue to another, you are so right on, sister! Wishing you and your rescue a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of new foster homes and adopting families.

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  12. You nailed it Ashley! I think in this case, the TRUTH hurts! You gave me and everyone else something to think about...that's a GOOD thing! God Bless you~

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  13. Hmmm, I guess I'd be baffled, too. I read your blog post from yesterday and there wasn't a note of condescension to it or anything. And you're right about all the "stuff".

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  14. Karma, Ashley, karma.

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  15. I didn't get to read your post, so I'm glad you wrote this one. I think there is guilt and bad feelings about themselves that's why they felt offended...

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  16. you should never have to apologize for talking about what you see, what you feel, or what moves you. i am so thankful to have the chance to read your posts and blogs, and for the inspiration you spark in me and so many others. you will never please everyone, and it's true the cord you strike in them is exactly the thing they dislike most about themselves. the world today saddens me. the reality is they probably do feel guilty, and in my opinion, if they don't want to hear what you have to say they have every right to disregard your statements. i for one, like so many others look forward to hearing your words. even though i may walk away heartbroken at times, you bring the reality of the situation to the table and make each and every one of us aware of our responsibility as humans and fellow caretakers of our planet. we are not entitled to be here. we were given a gift to be part of this beautiful thing we call life, and we are responsible for each and every creature and being who inhabits the earth, whether people choose to admit it or not. my family deserves gifts - sure they do. they deserve the gift of knowing the smallest of efforts can change a life, and the rewards of appreciating what amazing and powerful creatures we can be when we follow our instincts and listen to our hearts. material things will fade, but the love and compassion we give to another, be it human or otherwise will manifest itself 10 fold. energy is never ending, and your intent is everything. <3

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  17. You are a true friend to your pals, be it animal or human. Your gift to us are your words with your Blog, they inspire us to give thought and meaning to our lives. You are a much better person than these negative jerks will ever be, so just put these unfortunate, unhappy, negative words behind you and continue on with your wonderful mission of your blessed life. You will be rewarded for your good deeds and words. Suzanne

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  18. Ash - I completely agree with what you are saying and follow your blog regularly. that said, and since you asked, I can see how SOME sensitive and defensive people can see your original post as condescending - let's be clear I DO NOT see it that way - I can just see how "some" might - but you are right in that they need to ask THEMSELVES "why" they reacted that way and not throw it on you - but that's what these types of people do so for your own sanity - keep up the great work and ignore the naysayers :)

    Happy Holidays (Merry Christmas to those who would otherwise be "offended")

    Robert :)

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  19. Ashley,
    I wish it didn't bother you when you read negative comments after you post something that's very true and sincere, but I know that's easier said than done. Some people live just to try and irritate others. Why? I suppose some are just mean and spiteful while others may have some sort of mental or psychological problems. I always enjoy your posts and how you inspire others to help in any way that they can. I've read this before but I'd like to repeat it. Ashley, you make the world a better place for people and animals with your selflessness, compassion and obviously with your rescue work that goes on and on.
    Don't let a few miserable people ruin your day!

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  20. I think your post was clear and well stated. I couldn't agree more!
    About 6 months ago I moved over 500 miles from my hometown. My nearest family is about 10 hours away. When I moved life was different, empty almost. So I started volunteering Happy Tales Humane, no kill shelter in Franklin TN. In the last 6 months I have fostered several dogs and kittens who needed to be bottle fed or had severe fractures and needed surgeries or medications. I racked up over 200 hours of volunteer work and I can honestly say I've never been happier with my life. I am constantly surrounded by animals whose lives have been impacted by just one simple act of kindness from the many volunteers of the shelter. And yet while we make a difference on many animals, We can't help but think how much more we could do if even just ONE more person donated, stepped up to foster or volunteer. ONE person can make such a difference.
    And to the person who said that charities increase during holiday season; Charity EFFORTS increase during holidays, but I bet you would be surprised if you looked in the clothing drive boxes, because they would be close to empty. Just because there are donation boxes everywhere you look during the holiday season, doesnt mean people are actually donating, and THAT is the problem. Everyone always thinks that "Hey, it's okay if I dont donate to a charity this year, because someone else will."
    Ashley is only being honest, charities and nonprofits, especially small ones, DO suffer during the "season of giving".
    Noone is pointing fingers to blame anyone, its simply a statement to get people thinking in hope that someone, somewhere will be touched by the statement and do something to help.

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  21. Thank you for speaking the truth Ashley! You are an inspiration and I hope one day I can do what you do. I am definitely going to try changing up Christmas traditions from here on out!

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  22. I believe you said what you felt from the heart. I stopped years ago giving into the commercialism of Christmas. Christmas should be something you do year round, treat others with love and respect and help those you can. My love and concern is always for the creatures of this world that cannot ask or help themselves. You are doing a great service and I hope some day to also be doing the same. Never apologize for saying whats on your mind. Keep up the good Work.

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  23. I'm not bothered by negative messages and comments. I'm BAFFLED by them. There's a big difference between the two.

    I didn't write this post today to give any merit to the critics. Actually... today's post was meant to do quite the opposite. To shine an honest light on the negative perceptions and condemnation... by saying, "Here is what I wrote. Consider how you took it. Realize that you're angry at yourself.. not me."

    This was intended to show those irrational, negative people just how irrational and negative they really are. This was my way of saying, "You can't bring me down to your level. Because I won't let you."

    I'm not bothered by people like this. I feel sorry for them.

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  24. Ashley I get every single word you said and like you, am baffled! I have changed what I did this year, I cannot give much but have already donated to 3 different specific animals/charities and am also going to do more before Christmas! My heart is full w/the need and desire to help those less fortunate and that doesn't take away wanting/needing to give gifts to family! But you are so right, MOST DON'T NEED THEM!!! Christmas has become too wound up with buying a ton of stuff that really doesn't mean anything to them except as "an item of fun or use"! But to those who have so little whether they be animals or people, it makes a huge IMPACT on their lives!!!!! Just last night on the news, there was a story of a man who had saved a silver dollar for over 20 years, current value he figured to be between 30 and 70 dollars. Well he wrapped it up in a note that said he was 62, retirement in the pot, lost his job over a year ago and his house was going into foreclosure but he felt there would always be someone less fortunate so he was donating it to the Salvation Army! So you my dear, hit the nail on the head and the negative comments are just that, a response because of feeling guilty for not having more empathy for others. Happy Holidays and know that so many people and animals respect and are grateful for what you are doing!!!! Oh and I'm not posting this anonymous on purpose, I just don't have any of the other profiles to fit in.

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  25. Ashley, you wrote a truly moving message yesterday. You not only write very well, but your WORDS are truly amazing. It made me think, I could do more, too!! I donate, and advocate, as much as I can, for various charities, but yet, although I THOUGHT of it, I haven't MADE the time to stop by my local shelter and donate some toys and treats for the animals there!!! Maybe it's because every time I stop there, I want to take them all home... and it saddens me to see them... And there's always that "one", or "two"... but, you inspired me to put that aside, and actually do it... I have done it in the past, and it felt GREAT to see the animals instantly playing with their new toys, and eating their new treats, even in their cages... Thanks Ashley... too bad this world is not filled with many of YOU. <3

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  26. I did not read your blog yesterday but from what you have said on here today i'm deeply moved and it has inspired me to sign myself, my husband, and my 10 yr old daughter who were thrilled and very willing to volenteer at our local shelter this holiday for the homeless and at one of our local animal shelters. I made some phone calls and managed to get some people to make some donations sooo we ended up with a total of $300.00 cash and some animal food! So i just wanted to thank you very much and i will be a daily reader from now on, and me and my family will be more active in the mission for animals and humans in need.

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  27. Anonymous @ 12:49pm,

    WOW! Your comment just brought tears to my eyes! That's AMAZING! Thank you! Thank you, thank you!!!!!!

    Love,
    Ashley

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  28. Thank you, sweet Ashley. For the same reasons we are baffled that abuse occurs to animals and that crimes are committed against people with the intent of hurting them....we will have to remain baffled in the same kind of people that would ever see anything but pure goodness from any post you make. God Bless and keep inspiring us all to be better!

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  29. I see no reason to be offended or upset about what you said. This is the Christmas season where we are supposed to care about others. this includes animals and people. God Bless you for caring about the animals and trying to better their lives. Yes, I do care about people but right now I am sick of their rudeness and uncaring spirit. Thank you for all you do. I'm sure the animals appreciate all you do unlike many people.

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  30. Amen Sister!!! Good for you : )

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  31. Ashley, you are so inspiring to all of us, let the haters say or do what they must! People just love to show their ignorance....you are a blessing and the only source of hope that your Lucky Dogs have. Everyone should think about where all of your dogs would be now, if it hadn't been for you!! Because of you, they are now the luckiest dogs in the world!!! Have a very Merry Christmas and please keep writing for the many of us who love you so!!!! You are amazing and we love you!!! xoxoxo

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  32. Previous comment posted by Tucker's number 1 fan. Guess who...

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  33. Ashley, although I did not read your blog yesterday, i did read today's. You are so correct about the spirit of giving and it should not be limited to holidays - people and animals suffer every day. I have been refusing gifts from everyone for years in lieu of donations to my favorite organizations and this year my children (grown - true) are doing the same thing. Thank you for continuing to inspire people to do the right thing

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  34. Ashley...You are such a BEAUTIFUL girl.....all thru' and thru' and you are one of the most bighearted, wonderful angels!
    Keep up the absolutely AMAZING work little lady! God Bless You and your dogs!!!!

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  35. I read your post yesterday & totally agreed with everything you said. I am looking at where I can give and making a point of teaching my kids to give back. You are amazing- just keep on doing what you do!

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  36. So very insightful Ashley. It makes me sad that there were people who took issue with your inspiring blog. Perhaps they need a reality check. Keep posting girl because YOU are paying it forward and YOU are making a difference!
    From- a loyal supporter

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  37. Know what it is, Ashley? Your love, devotion and compassion for these dogs is so rich and pure and selfless that some people actually can't grasp it. I think there are many people out there who struggle often with moral issues and with the proper self-motivation to leave their comfort zones and to help make a positive difference. Some people come from families where communication is done more through superficial means than through emotion and support, so they grow up not knowing how to express altruism. I agree with you - so many children are starving and riddled with diseases in much of this world, but parents are buying their teenagers iPads, smart phones, X-Boxes and every gadget known to man, and the kids become spoiled and selfish and don't really know how to give to others who truly and desperately need it. I know some people aren't financially able to donate to worthy charities and causes, but for those who are at least somewhat lucrative or somewhat comfortably compensated, I do feel they should find it in their hearts to give to those who desperately need help - -and not because they need to alieviate guilt, but because they genuinely want to. This world has really gone to shit. There aren't too many people like you out there, Ashley, and like I said some people really cannot grasp it. :-)

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  38. Well said Ashley! Personally, I do not "need" anything this year. I have been tremendously blessed. There is a HUGE difference between "needs" and "wants". I don't think that everyone understands that, or at least, not everyone wants to admit it. I would never demonize anyone for buying a gift for someone else. Gift giving is a very nice gesture and we are all called to give, give of ourselves, of our time, and sometimes, of our money. However, holiday gift giving can become more focused on buying the greatest and latest thing on the market, rather than focused on what is the purest and truest "reason for the season". Giving is a heart matter. The things that you spend your money and the places where you spend your time are indicative of where your heart is.

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  39. Bah Humbug to them! Seriously, some people are just miserable and just need an outlet to pick on someone else. I know it's hard, but please, ignore the haters, there are too many people out there who love and are inspried by you!!! (and that includes me!)

    Nadine

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  40. Well said Ashley! I love your blog and I hope you keep sharing your point of view. Its like my pastor says about some of his messages "If what I'm saying offends you, then you aren't ready to hear it!"

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  41. Cindi Honeywell YoungDecember 7, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    For me, the most powerful point you made in your post yesterday was in reference to families instilling in their children the value of giving selflessly. I spend my days with seven year olds who, if given the chance, love to give to others and make them happy. They do not have an agenda in their giving and do not need a public pat on the back. They give because it's what their hearts guide them to do. It's like a reflex for them. It is our responsibility as adults to provide them an abundance of opportunities to give to those in need. Children naturally respond in compassionate ways. We, as adults, should set the example for that. Whether it's giving our time or our money, giving from the heart is an inherent part of being human, and we should do it often. Giving doesn't have to be this over the top event; it just has to be genuine. It's so sad that there are a handful of folks who were offended by the initial post. Clearly there is a character flaw there because giving is synonymous with being human. I know you are baffled right now, and many of us are, but I also know that you feel blessed to have the opportunity to share how much you value the sentiment of giving. You are a giver who wants others to feel the joys of giving the way you feel them. That's why we all love you; you inspire us to do more, to be more, to love more. That's really all that matters, right?

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  42. From yesterday's post I changed my Christmas list. From the tings I want (iphone, clothes, new stuff) To asking my parents to foster another dog/litter. Thanks! Let's hope my Christmas wish comes true..(it would if they supported me more in what i do)

    BTW.. the little boy and the dog!! ADORABLE!!! is that your picture? one of your LUCKY dogs??

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  43. Keep writing the truth, Ashley; if I need clarification, I will ask. Your post yesterday is what I have been telling my family for years - I don't NEED anything more - please donate in my name to someone or a rescue. I do love the red shawl my sister sent one year despite my protestations; she did good :).
    When we were growing up, my parents made us play with Ronnie, the down's syndrome boy down the street. My parents opened their home to everyone. I will never forget Ronnie or that his mother, in a crisis, had no one else to turn to but our family because we cared for Ronnie.
    Give - give - time is the most precious commodity.

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  44. I agree. I am baffled too after having read both posts. Sad commentary of our society, no? I shared the post on my wall with this comment:

    There were people offended/angry/upset with what Ashley said in her post "Tis the Season?" (http://luckydogrescueblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/tis-season.html). Seriously? I have long hated the commercialism and gifting frenzy of Christmas. The problems and crimes of Black Friday shopping show it loud and clear. I have one thing on my Christmas wish list this year, and it's not even for me personally. It will be interesting to see if anyone honors the wish or if I will get something that I may or may not like or even want.

    Keep on truckin' your way Ashley because it's the right way. :)

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  45. First of all, Ashley, I love the way you didn't apologize. And I love the way you recognize where the negativity is truly coming from. It is so refreshing and empowering to feel the strength and conviction of your passion, with no apologies for it....something that many of us could use more of - including myself. Since I was little, I always said that I felt I was brought into this world for something so much bigger than myself. This year as been THE year of my personal enlightenment and empowerment. (I know there is more to come for sure) But through your blogs, you have been successful in opening my eyes to even more perspectives and approaches to the obstructions in my mind. The strength of conviction in your passion has done that. The past 6 months of my life have been really without words to explain. I have finally discovered the awesome STRENGTH that God has given each and every one of us - planted in us the moment we were born. Its an amazing thing to discover, to say the least. But since finding out about you maybe 5 months ago, you have helped that journey develop more of an iron fist. It has been a tough 6 months, no doubt, but your inspiring thoughts have had my back. As I read another blog, it slowly helps in unfolding the magic of who Allyson is and what she is capable of. And that, my friend, is an amazing feeling, isn't it? I know ;-) So thank you....and you're welcome!

    So, in regards to your last 2 blogs, I shall tell you how you've instantly inspired me. My husband's family does a white elephant gift for Christmas, which is already better than exchanging all kinds of, as you said it so well, unnecessary gifts. But this year is even more stressful than any others bc I have been jobless for 6 months and we are so very tight for money. So I have been less than interested in what I am going to "buy" for the game. And I have become so much more into the very idea of which you posted yesterday, 'Tis the season. So, with your simple thoughts put down in words, I have decided that my choice for a gift this year will be a certificate of $20 to donate to the charity of their choice. :-) I feel better already. So thank you for choosing to share your thoughts. You will ALWAYS have an impact on at least one person out there. Each day, each and every day, you have inspired yet another person. How awesome! And, I know, that is all you hope for. I think now I shall follow suit and start my own blog. Yep, its done! See you tomorrow!

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  46. Ashley, you're not the only one who thinks this way. Check out this video, it goes along with your blog post.

    Advent Conspiracy 2011
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IN0W3gjnNE

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