Archives for May 2015

Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Every Gift Matters: How Your Passion Can Change the World by Carrie Morgridge



Title: Every Gift Matters: How Your Passion Can Change the World
Author: Carrie Morgridge with John Perry
Copyright: May 5, 2015
Genre: non-fiction, reference
Format: e-book for review Pages: 184

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Charitable giving is on the rise in America. Despite the lingering effects of the economic downturn, Americans continue to give generously of their time, talent, and money – more than $335 billion in 2013, a 4.4% increase from 2011. What’s more, the bulk of that charitable giving – 72% – came not from large foundations or corporations, but from individuals making small gifts. For those with passion for a cause and a generous spirit, it’s vitally important that they leverage their gift in the right way in order to have the greatest impact possible.

In her first book EVERY GIFT MATTERS (Greenleaf; May 2015), Carrie Morgridge shares inspiring stories of powerful gifts in action showing readers how to turn the act of giving into a vehicle for positive change. Drawing on 15 years of experience supporting causes that align with her passions through gifts, Morgridge demonstrates how a smart strategy, high expectations, a deep network, and hands-on personal involvement will ensure that one’s gift is compounded over time to have the biggest impact possible.

My Thoughts:

In addition to my regular reading I now have begun to review books for publishing companies.  Most of the books I receive have not been released for the general public.  You can rest assured, I will in no way alter my reviews with this privilege of receiving ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). I will always give my honest review good or bad.

As you all may know, this year I have been educating myself on more effective ways of charitable giving.  I have given to charities in the past but not really felt the connection nor did I know if my money made a difference.  So when I saw this book, I knew I had to review it. I recently had a conversation with a family member and when I talked about some of the charities I am passionate about and expressed my plans to donate, I received the same skepticism I hear over and over.  That much of the money doesn’t even go to the recipients/cause it goes to the administration.  I proceeded to tell them that with anything else, it is important to do your research to ensure that doesn’t happen.  I now wonder if this is the reason so many don’t donate or is it a convenient excuse to forget about others in need. Maybe a little of both sometimes.  I know I am cautious but refrain from being cynical about charitable giving.

Every Gift Matters, is a great book to read if you are planning on charitable giving whether through time or money. I enjoyed it because it had a good bit of instruction on how to approach giving which I feel is important. I think it can help provide readers with a structure to create their own charitable giving. I like stuff like that. It makes it a good reference book with lists of questions to think about to help formulate your giving plan. So if you are like me and like to have pre-defined lists to help you get started this book does share some of that. I found myself highlighting to put in my own plan.

One very important thing that the author tries to convey throughout the book is that you should align your charitable giving with your passions.  Her passion is with education particularly with disadvantaged children. She provides a look at her journey to charity and then through a large list of opportunities that she has invested in with her foundation. A large portion of the book focuses on examples of her giving and the results from them. Towards the end, I did think that for some that don’t share the her passion for educational charitable giving and say for example maybe they have a passion for the environment, might wish they could see more variety. But the author is sharing her experience which can be applied to others’ passions (environment, animal right, etc.).

What I loved is the many programs and resources that she has included in her examples. I found myself keeping a list of all these organizations to look into after I completed the book.

I really enjoyed hearing her stories and the connections she has had with all the people rather than just giving and walking away, she has connected with so many people in so many special ways that it is refreshing.  It’s a good counter to all the cynicism surrounding giving.

An important point that she makes and reiterates is that you don’t have to have a foundation and donate large sums of money. Every gift matters. That it’s all the small gifts that make the difference. As long as you find your passion, make the connection to charities that share your values, do the research, talk with the people who work there then you will make profound differences in the world.

I would recommend this book which is now available and will definitely be using her advice in my endeavors. I  give it four butterflies.

Happy Reading!



Hello Everyone!!

No, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth. I can’t believe how long it has been since I have written a post.  This time of year is usually a bit crazy but this year even more so with my oldest getting ready to graduate from elementary school. I feel like I am inside a tornado and occasionally I get peeks out to see the possibilities and then I am swept back inside.

I had every intention of posting regularly even if I had to cut back on a few posts but boom… time was not on my side.

So let’s catch-up!  The last time we were together, I was sharing the beginning of my 21-day cleanse.  I am proud to say I am down to the last few days (4 to be exact) and I did not cheat and stuck to my exercise routine and sleep routine throughout. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. I feel great and I have re-united with my love for cooking with real food.  I love that I have only fed myself whole organic foods throughout this process. That is no easy feat particularly financially. I have been shopping Trader Joes more frequently and I am pretty sure they know me now at Whole Foods. But cooking with fresh vegetables,eating paster-raised organic eggs, and humanly treated meats has really been eye-opening. I enjoyed all the meals I had except for 3 and that’s pretty good in my eyes. I definitely intend on keeping many of the recipes moving forward. I am also going to stick to clean eating in general and limit my processed foods. Here are some pictures of some of my meals over the past few weeks:


This cleanse by no means was a deprivation diet where I ate crackers and yucky stuff. I had hearty delicious meals that included fish and meat.  So I don’t feel like I am missing out on much.

Overview2One of my favorite meals was the zucchini noodles with a homemade beef bolognese sauce. I could have eaten this every day. And Apollo loves using my spiralizer to make the noodles for me!

Overview3One of my favorite snacks was slices of cumber with avocado spread on top with a dash of salt.  Pure yummy. After I complete this cleanse, I will slowly reintroduce the trigger foods to help to determine any problems.  What a facinating journey that I found daunting as I approached the start date but now reflect and know that this was right for me and will help me to continue on my goal of great health.

I will probably resume my normal posting schedule next week, as I try desperately to grab the reins to this extremely active time. I hope that you all are well and hope you have been crafting, reading and finding time with nature now that the weather has warmed.

Have a blessed day!


Day One for my 21-day Gut Cleanse

Hello Everyone! I apologize for missing my regular post of Project Life yesterday.  I went to Afternoon Tea with my bookclub on Saturday at a beautiful teahouse and had a special Mother’s Day with family on Sunday. I think I was just enjoying life so much I lost track of my schedule.  Next week, I will be back on schedule with Project Life.

However, I would like to share with you something new I am doing.  First, let me say, that I have always tried to lean towards healthy choices in my life and this year, I have chosen to continue on this journey and have been researching different healthy options. Recently I have been reading up on this 21-day Gut Cleanse by Dr. Allejandro Junger. He has written several books on eating clean and he also has a Clean Cleanse Program.  But I felt drawn to the Gut Cleanse to ensure that I maximize my opportunity to detox my body and more specifically my digestive system.

The plan is that I will eat whole foods minus the 5 common toxic triggers:

  • gluten
  • dairy
  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • coffee

This cleanse is based on the teachings of functional medicine and the 4 Rs of functional medicine are:

  1. Remove – Remove most common toxic triggers (such as sugar, wheat, gluten, dairy)
  2. Replace – Replace toxic triggers  and any processed foods for organic whole foods which will help to replenish nutrients like magnesium and fiber to name a few.
  3. Reinoculate – Bring balance to the digestive track by improving the body’s good bacteria (intestinal flora).
  4. Repair – Any good cleanse should aid the body in it’s repair functions. This is done by having a liquid meal, which reduces our intake of toxic triggers while eating from the cleanse diet. In other words, it allows the digestive process to not be taxed by toxins and hard to digestive foods, so that the body can efficiently and effectively run through it’s proper digestive process daily.

I am of course simplifying this for a post but I have been reading both his Clean book and Clean Gut literature from his website.

So yesterday was my first day. I thought I would keep a journal to record my thoughts and experience along the way and would like to share some of this via a regular post on the site for the 21-days. Now I will definitely journal daily through this process but will not add more pressure and promise to post daily. But I will commit to regular check-in posts to share my experiences.

The things that I will be tracking and closely observing throughout the process are: my energy level, my mood, my digestion, my sleep, my weight and try to identify which triggers are problematic for me so that moving forward, I will move away from them in my regular eating.

My goal is not only to lose a little weight but to improve my digestive system, release the toxins that are currently in my body and to move closer to more clean foods on a regular basis after completing this cleanse for a more healthy energetic life.

Yesterday I had a smoothie called Dreamy Blueberry smoothie for breakfast. It was pretty good and filling. I had a Vegetable Frittata for lunch and in order to not overburden the process since my family will be eating a separate meal, I will portion and save leftovers for future lunches so that I don’t have to cook everyday.

The formula is a fortified smoothie for breakfast and then a substantial clean lunch followed by a clean light dinner.  There are snacks and I will be exploring that soon. My first big, oh boy, was not including my morning green tea with breakfast. Since it is naturally caffenated, I will not be drinking it throughout the 21-day. This isn’t the big thing for me. I think sugar is going to be my challenge. I love me some dark chocolate like the next but all processed food and sugar is going to test my will power.

I have been telling all of my friends I am going to do this so that I will first of all stick to my start date and push through the plan.  I don’t know if I will make it for the entire 21-days but I am going for it. I chose to do this after Mother’s Day because I didn’t want to miss out on the grilling and other yummies I had for Mother’s day. I also think it would be a great time to detox all the naughties I had like (gluten, sugar and alcohol).

Day1Yesterday I enjoyed everything which I was glad for a good start.

Today I can’t say the smoothie was my favorite. But it was filling.  So far I am feeling pretty good. I will update you soon on my progress. Until then, I wish for you good health and happiness.


OLW Update


Four months into the year and my process of working with my OLW has been as I expected has had it’s ups and downs. I will write a post with a review of all of my goals with updates at six months. But I would like to keep you up on what things I am doing from time to time on individual goals to keep my word, Connect, alive for me throughout the year.

One of my big goals is to Connect with my body and work towards total wellness.  Beginning next Monday, I will be starting a 21-day Clean Gut Cleanse program. I have only done one other detox program about 2 years ago and I didn’t like how it made me feel. I felt sluggish.  I am choosing a different approach this time around where I have been reading up on different cleanses and learning a great deal about the body and digestion. I chose Dr. Junger’s cleanse program because I feel confident that it has sound principles and medical knowledge to help me on my path towards total wellness.

This week, I am preparing by reading, organizing recipes and will write grocery lists to ensure that I have on hand what I need to avoid cheating.  Today I went and bought a LifeFactory water bottle as a little gift to myself before embarking on this journey.

LifeFactoryBottleIt’s glass so no worries of BPA, BPS, PVC or phthalates in the glass like many of the plastic water counterparts which can get into the water as you drink it.  I can throw this bottle after taking off the cover into the dishwasher to wash it and the flip top doesn’t require me to fret about a straw getting dirty.

I figure the more people I tell, the more likely I will stick to this cleanse to see the results.  I will also try to share recipes and tips.

I hope you all are having a blessed day!



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