From 100 to 10 in 24 hours.

Two days ago, I was running around like a Christmas maniac, pants on fire. Yesterday I was in that special level of hell that is Comcast & the dreaded Motor Vehicle Department, trying to get a new cable box working and register my car, while in between I returned stuff I’d bought the day before, and bought stuff I’ll probably return tomorrow. A week ago, we had 100 people at our house for the college party, and tomorrow we’re in for a long night of church, fun and games with about 25 of our best friends.

But today, I’ve been by myself all day, writing and thinking, and tonight is stretching out in front of me like a long road I want to take.

My husband has been in New York with his elderly dad for the last few days, which makes me remember my own sweet, sad last hours with my dad. My daughter is at her boyfriend’s house all day (and most of the night), which makes me realize that she’s all grown up now. I’ve got no plans, nothing left to shop for, no reason to cook, and it feels simultaneously delicious and strangely hollow. I can’t decide if it thrills me to be alone, or makes me sad – and I feel the same way about the end of this blog.

Yep, What Gives 365 is going the way of all flesh and will be retiring with no pension in a few days. In January, I’ll be starting a new blogging project and inviting you – no, begging each one of you to come along with me…invitation soon to follow. For my brand spanking-new Heifer 12 x 12 project, I’ll be traveling to 12 countries in 12 months in 2012 with Heifer International as their Global Blogging Ambassador – a title I totally made up and really like.

Heifer's Greeting Card: You've Got Goats!

But since I’m already awash/overwhelmed with all the travel, technology, planning, photography, and oh yeah, writing that’s involved, I’ll have to put an end to What Gives 365, (although I’ll still be leaving it up so anybody can come back and roam freely through the archives). Which feels like I’m breaking up with the best, nicest boyfriend ever. Boo hoo hooo!

Luckily, I’ve been through enough romantic turmoil in my life (way, way more than enough) that I realize full well what comes after all the pillow-soaked sobbing: Happiness. Fulfillment. And a better relationship.

Still, I hate the end of things. I don’t like to see the leaves fall, and I can’t stand when it’s 65 degrees in the winter. I want things to be the way they’re supposed to be – like they were when I was a child.

Petunias not supposed to be blooming...

I grew up in a family of 8 kids, so I’m only truly comfortable when it’s totally chaotic, frantically busy, and overwhelming noisy. In my family, we trimmed the tree on Christmas Eve (not two weeks before) and sang carols together and my mom disappeared down into the basement at midnight to wrap all our presents ($25 was spent on each child, not a dime more and certainly not a quarter less) and nobody was ever alone for two consecutive seconds. How did I end up with a life that is so entirely different? Silence and solitude scare me, and yet … I find I’m beginning to really like both. Maybe this is what’s known as balance? Or maturity?

Wow, I never thought it would come to this. What a gift!


(And my present to you is from Robert Frost, one of my favorite poems called “Reluctance.”)

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

34 thoughts on “From 100 to 10 in 24 hours.

  1. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures in Cuba, and your next adventure, with Heifer. You’re what they used to call “a gal with moxie.”
    Moxie to the Max, babe!
    Have a wonderful 2012.
    xx, Meg Cox

  2. Betty, I have loved following your journey and it has fertilized my own – like your reminding me about Better World Books which launched my project. And when you wrote about Shining HOpe, all wonderful. Really eager to see your Heifer adventures. Blessings to you. What a fabulous role model you are of not knowing what is coming next but charging forward to figure it out! And you do! Let me know when you come to Philly, would love to meet you in person.
    Betsy Teutsch

    • Betsy — we are MEANT to meet, that’s for sure! So many things in common, and I do get to Philly a lot … thanks so much for your comment and I’ll see on the flip side (that would be Heifer 12 x 12..) xoxox b

  3. Just a thank you for an amazing, highly vicarious, entertaining, charity extravaganza. Reading your posts was amongst the wisest use of computer time this year. Don’t know nuthin about no heifers but will real soon!

    • Laurie — aren’t we all looking for some good use of our computer time? Personally, i have internet ADD — any time I get on, I immediately get sidetracked into five different other things and then… yikes! it’s late afternoon and time for a cocktail (sigh)… thanks for being such a loyal reader!! xooxox b

  4. Betty, I’ve only been on your “365 day adventure” since around day 343. I look forward to following your heifer adventures from the get-go.

    Happy New Year !

    Nova Scotia

  5. This sounds like another great year of blogging. This program will lead you to 12 more groups of wonderful people. AND you will be sharing these people and experiences with many more. Where do I sign up to follow??

  6. Happy Holidays. I will dearly miss this phase of your life but so look forward to the next installment. I am awe of your ability to change and grow.

    • Happy HOlidays, Alice!! Love to think of YOU in your new world of San Miguel, with all the artists and writers and thinkers and givers —
      keep in touch in 2012 .. and come hook up with me in my Heifer travels!! How fun would THAT be??! xoxoxo b

  7. Sign me up for your new project, Betty! What a wonderful project it will be, just like this one. I’m so glad that What Gives 365 isn’t going away completely, because I have a lot of archival reading that I’ve missed – thanks in no small measure to a year that has been like your Comcast and DMV hell. How wonderful it has been, though, to have a blog as uplifting as yours, where a dose of perspective and inspiration has been available at any time.

    I wish you a very happy and relaxing Christmas and New Year celebration with your family and friends – time to unwind and gear up for your exciting new “season” that is 2012!

    All the best,


    • Dear Amiable — Happy Holidays to YOU, too, and let me tell you, I am so excited for 2012 if only for the chance to read your hilarious blogs, and NOW… Big Guy’s, too! Seriously, what a double-team effort!! Hope you get a thoughtful, lovely gift that was picked out far in advance of the holidays (I’m sure he was only kidding when he asked you what you wanted last week) and includes perfect stocking stuffers purchased around December 26, 2010… I love you guys!!!

  8. What a wonderful project for 2012. Heifer is always part of my holiday shopping. I will be enjoying your new blogs as I have these. Thank you. Enjoy the peace and the chaos.

    • And you shall have them, Renee… unless I get run over by a CAT thrown from the top of some crazy woman’s ragtop roof! So happy we’ve met each other this year … ah, the joy of blogging!! Happy Everything to You!

  9. Oh Betty your new project sounds SPECTACULAR! I am thrilled for you and thrilled for me too. Now I know one of my ‘look forward tos’ for 2012.
    What Gives 365 was a gift for me and the many friends with whom I shared it. Thank you so very much.
    Much love to you and yours.

    • Catharine, It’s been great to have you along for the 365 ride … can’t wait til we can hit the road for Heifer in January!! All the best & thanks for sharing my site with friends — that’s the best gift you could give me!!
      Happy Holidays and Brilliant New 2012!!!

    • Thanks Carla!! Merry Christmas to YOU, too — and I wish you all the best in 2012 … so happy you’ll be coming along with me, Heifer, the goats, pigs, baby calves, fish, llamas, camels….. xoxoxo b

  10. What a fab adventure to look forward to and what a lot of planning it is going to take! Can’t quite imagine planning a trip to a different country and culture every month, but I’m sure you will let us know how it goes. I’m looking forward to your new blog and can’t say good bye to this one without acknowledging all the good you have done with it. Please plan on visiting our libraries if you are in Botswana, Swaziland, Ghana, Lesotho or Malawi. Merry, Merry to you, Ms. B!

    • Chris!! My favorite fabulous African Library Project Guru — Happy Holidays!! I can’t quite imagine all the planning these 12 trips are going to take either, as so far I’ve only got Guatemala locked in for mid January … but Heifer is great at helping plan these things. So I’m assuming (hoping? praying??) it will all just fall in place. Or just fall … ha! I will absolutely visit your libraries if I get to Malawi (that’s on my list!!) and maybe meet you there?? I am grateful for your acknowledgement of the good you say I’ve done, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank each and every one of YOU for inspiring me, supporting me, giving to the projects I’ve written about, and just making me happy to know you! ALL the best in 2012 — & we’ll meet in person soon, I just know it! xoxox b

  11. What a totally cool new project!! Traveling for Heifer – sounds just entirely too wonderful. It ends and it begins again. What a gift. Happy Holidays and I can’t wait to hear more.


    • Judy — we need to catch up!! I can’t wait to tell you all about 12 x 12 .. and you need to plan to meet me somewhere next year. We’d be great traveling buddies … I just know it! Happy Holidays, dear friend!!!

  12. Betty, your 365 blog was a beautiful present for me to unwrap each day. You write with such joy! I am looking forward to your new work with Heifer Intl. my children used to save up all their coins to contribute to this group every Christmas. Both boys are nearly grown. My baby Kate will be 13 this year! Lulu looks every bit as beautiful as she did as a child. Merry Christmas, Betty! Deb xoxo

    • Deb! How did we ever end up with grown up children?? I am so happy to hear from you, and wish you ALL the best this holiday season… how are your darling boys! And I need to see a picture of Kate — who is 13?? Wow.. I love that your kids used to save up to support Heifer — and I can’t wait to share the stories of where all those quarters and pennies went!
      When I was in Uganda, I was literally blown away by what the families who were the beneficiaries accomplished … Have a Merry Christmas & let’s be in touch this New Year!!!

  13. Betty, I’m going to miss What Gives 365. But, I’m thrilled to hear about your new venture and can’t wait to sign up for your new blog. All the best and safe travels.

    Happy, Happy Holidays to your and your family.

    • Happy Holidays to YOU, Alana and I can’t wait to tell you all about the new blog … yay!! I hate to leave 365 but I think this is going to be a natural and amazing extension of all that good energy … Thanks SO much for your support and enthusiasm!!! See you next year! xoxoox b

  14. Thanks for a wonderful blog, Betty. I will really miss “What Gives 365”.
    The Heifer International greeting card on this post is connected to our last Christmas “gift wrapping” task of the night. My daughter just filled out that same card to her 93-year old grandfather with the greeting “You’ve got a goat!”

  15. Betty, 365 has been an inspiration, joy, education, entertainment, and so much more. While I will miss the retirement of this blog, I am looking forward to the new venture and all that will come from that for all of your readers, of which I will continue to be one.

    Much love and Merry Christmas-Happy Chanukah!

    • Darling Jeff (and Andrew) — Thank you so much for your support through all my 365 days … and I hope you’ll come along with me (even vicariously, since I know there is NO way you could leave your pets!) on my trips for Heifer — it’s going to be a wild, amazing, inspiring ride!! I adore you … and can’t wait til we can get together again … Merry Christmas to both of YOU!!

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