The Final Day: Wherein I Kiss a Llama

Over the weekend, Worldbuilders passed $681,000 in donations.

This might seem like an odd benchmark to get excited about. But $681,000 is how much money we raised last year. Passing that is a big deal for us, especially considering that we moved our big event much earlier in the year, and cut the time of the fundraiser in half.

Honestly? I was worried we wouldn’t make it. But we did. In fact, as you can see from our thermometer, we’ve rocketed far past it. As I write this, we are just about to crest over $750,000, and we still have a full day to go. Three quarters of a million dollars.

Try saying that to yourself: “We’ve raised three quarters of a million dollars for Heifer International.” It has a nice sound, doesn’t it?

Because of this, on Sunday, I went looking for a llama to kiss….

*     *     *

That’s the promise I made at the beginning of the fundraiser: if we beat last year’s total, I’d kiss whatever Heifer animal people voted for. I thought “goat” was going to be a shoe-in. But I realize now I was being hopelessly naive.

animal kiss final

It’s harder than you might think to find a llama to kiss. There are a few at nearby farms, but when we ask people if I can come kiss them, they tend to say things like: “You realize a llama will kick a hole straight through you, right?” or “Yeaaaah… Our llama isn’t really into that.” or “Son, what the hell is wrong with you?”

Then we found a place up in the north woods of Wisconsin. A Bed & Breakfast that specializes in Llama Kisses. When I heard the name of it, I knew we’d found the right place: Storybook Farm.

So I did what I normally do in these situations: I screwed things up. I was so busy trying to spread the word about the fundraiser that I didn’t call them until Sunday around 1:00 in the afternoon. That’s when I found out that they like people to make appointments *before* coming out to their place, y’know, like everyone does in civilized society.

“I’m so sorry,” I said. “This is completely my fault. But this is for a fundraiser. And its ending tomorrow. And I promised people. Is there any way I could make it worth your while to fit this in today?”

They said it was okay, but I felt like an ass.

So I get in my car and start to drive the 120+ miles farther up into the northern woods of Wisconsin. The temperature was at that perfect temperature where it’s warm enough for fog, but still cold enough for water to freeze on the roads.

20141214_151640

(Actual footage.)

It was a long drive.

When I got there, Jim and Bonnie came out to meet me. They were kind and gracious despite the fact that I’d rudely intruded on their Sunday. They didn’t understand why I was there, so I explained about Heifer International and what we were doing with Worldbuilders.

Then I got to meet some animals. I knew I was among friends when they introduced me to Tumnus the Goat.

20141214_155334

And there were Llamas there too. Of course.

20141214_155246

I think the Llama on the right is Congo. We got to be good friends.

I don’t want to get a reputation as a player, but I will say that several of the llamas were all up ons. I think it might have been the beard.

Here’s the thing. The video is fun. I had fun kissing the llamas, which I have to say are actually really, really pretty creatures. (Don’t make this weird.)

But that isn’t the point of this story. That’s just the plot of the story. The point is what happened next.

The owners of the place, Jim and Bonnie, spent an hour out in the muddy field with me, helping me out. Introducing me to the llamas. Bonnie got the Santa hat for me to wear. Jim engaged in llama distraction when it was needed and gave me the grain I used to tempt them into kissing me. (Don’t judge.) Bonnie worked the camera.

They spent an hour out in the freezing drizzle on their Sunday, helping me out. A Sunday I had rudely interrupted.

At the end of it. I tried to pay them. But they wouldn’t take my money. I explained that I knew their time was valuable, and that they had helped me keep a promise, and that’s really important to me. But they wouldn’t take my money. By that point I’d chatted with them for a while and learned that their house had burned down a while back and they were still recovering from that. I said I knew that they were running a business, and I was more than happy to…

But no. They just wouldn’t. “Take that money and buy a goat for someone,” Bonnie said.

That’s the point of the story, folks. People are good.

*     *     *

A couple days ago, Sarah made the questionable choice of reading an entire toy catalog to Oot. He showed it to me when I came home, all excited. He had circled about twenty things in it with a red pen, and explained each of them to me. There were two marble mazes. A laser game. A skeleton with removable organs. A fossil kit….

Score one for rampant consumerism.

Later on, he came into my office, clutching the magazine. He started to explain the items to me again, focusing especially on the little terrarium that is supposed to grow plants that look like brains and eyeballs, as well as carnivorous plants (A pitcher plant, I’m guessing from the illustration) and a plant that moves (A sensitive fern.)

“I remember these,” I said, interrupting him gently. “You showed this to me last night.”

“Oh yeah,” he said. “But I was just thinking that you could order all of these on your computer. Not all at once,” he said quickly. “You could do some e-mail. Then order one. Then do some more e-mail. And then order one.”

It breaks my heart that he knows how busy I am. That he feels like he has to fit himself in between my e-mails. I’ve been neglecting him during the fundraiser. today I kissed a llama more than I kissed him. That’s wrong. I’m going to start making that up to him starting tomorrow.

“Those are pretty cool,” I said to him, then added. “Did you know that some families don’t have very much money? There are some families that are so poor that the parents can’t afford to buy any toys at all for their children for Christmas?”

I was going to lead him down the garden path. Explain the concept of something like “Toys for Tots” to him. Make a plan with him about how we could go out together and buy toys for other families.

But he didn’t even give me the chance. He started chattering on almost as soon as I’d finished. “Oh,” he said. “Well if you could buy this one thing for me,” he pointed to the terrarium. “Then we could give all of those other toys to other kids.”

That was it. There was no hesitation. He didn’t have to think it through. I could see his face when I explained that some kids didn’t have toys. It was confusing to him. His is expression said the five-year-old equivalent of “Some kids have no toys? Seriously? What the Actual Fuck?”

So they should get all these other things. He was fine with just one present.

He’s my sweet boy. He’s good. That’s the moral of the story here. He gets it. It’s just sharing. It’s simple.

*     *     *

I’ve been seeing this happen all over the place during the fundraiser. I’m guessing you’ve seen a lot of it too….

For example, since Worldbuilders started early this year, some people were unable to participate. But regular blog commenters dorwinrin, Kthaeh, and Karissima got in contact with us, and set up a donation in honor of a commenter they saw who said they couldn’t kick anything in this year.

Here’s a comment someone made on the blog early on in the fundraiser:

“I’m pretty poor, but my wife and I have decided to refrain from ordering any takeout this month and put the resultant savings into Worldbuilders. I always forgot to donate in past years, but not this time!”

 But probably my favorite success story of the fundraiser is this one:

Charlotte's Page 12.14

Those of you who have been following the blog closely should recognize Charlotte.  Last week on the blog I mentioned that she’d shot a video and started her own donation page as part of our Worldbuilders fundraiser. She wanted to raise $500 for a Heifer, and so far people have chipped in enough money that she’s up in the top 5 supporting fundraisers now:

top fundrasiers 12.14

It looks like she’s going to overtake the NaNoWriMo page soon….

On her page, folks have left comments like this:

Ruth Hallows

One of my favorite new things about Heifer’s new donation platform is the ability of people to make their own pages in support of our team. That means groups can get together and fundraise for Worldbuidlers while letting their particular geek flags fly. For example, the Wayward Backers is a group of people who banded together on facebook after they got to know each other during my first kickstarter campaign.

And there are warm fuzzies galore in the comments, like this one from the WriMos page:

“I recently got a scholarship out of nowhere, and I wanted to pay it forward somehow. I have been reading Pat’s blog for years, so this was perfect.”

Or these, from the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Club:

“I’ve wanted to donate for several years but haven’t been able to. This year we stumbled on a little unexpected income and decided this was the best use for it.”

“My grandmother passed away this week. She was a very charitable person. In her honor, I’d love to offer what little support I can muster at the moment to give to this wonderful organization.”

Or Team Nerdfighteria:

“This is my fourth year donating. The first year, a goat. Every subsequent year, $250-300. I’m truly happy that, despite everything, I’m able to scrape together a decent amount of money to donate to the wonderful cause that is Heifer. Thanks Pat (and Amanda, and all the other helpers, donators, etc.) for publicizing and pushing this. I probably wouldn’t have started giving to charities if not for Worldbuilders. Thank you so much for encouraging me to be a positive force in the world.”

*     *     *

I could go on and on. But I’ll stop. Suffice to say that you’ve all impressed me yet again.

Let me leave you with a picture.

A couple days ago we took a picture of all the prizes we’re giving away for this year’s fundraiser. We had to do it as a panoramic, because… well… you can see why.

Prize Wall - all of it

Note that this picture doesn’t even include the 1000+ Mayfair games we’re giving away.

Last year we gave away about 1100 prizes. This year we giving away more than 2500. And many of those prizes contain multiple books and/or games. That means your odds of winning are really ridiculously good this year.

If you donate enough for honeybees ($30) you’ve got a 12% chance of winning something. Give a family a goat ($120) you’ve got a better than 40% chance of winning. Enough for a well that provides clean water ($300) and you’re up at 72%.

Prizes include signed and rare books, all manner of games, and, of course, the three favors from me….

Today’s your last chance to jump in. Tomorrow will be too late.

Here’s the link to donate.

Don’t miss it.

This entry was posted in Oot, Worldbuilders 2014. By Pat62 Responses

62 Comments

  1. Valarya
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Hrm. I sent an email to worldbuilders asking if I could donate on behalf of someone else who couldn’t and never got a response. I suggested it as a ‘thing’ you guys do next year (kind of like the site Amanda Palmers fans created to buy copies of her book for fans who couldn’t afford it), but I didn’t know how that would be feasible.

    Now I read that it is, and you’ve already done it for some people. How can I get in on this during the last day? I want other geeks to have a chance at the lottery-of-awesome.

    • Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

      Are you donating for people you know? If that’s the case, the simplest mechanism might just be for you to donate, then split the stuff up yourself….

      Otherwise, I’ll let Amanda talk about how they set this other thing up. I don’t really think there’s an official process for it or anything. Not yet.

      • Valarya
        Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

        I saw comments on previous blog posts by people who couldn’t contribute this year. It made me sad. I really don’t know how something like this would work, but hopefully your little elves can make it happen.

        • Amanda
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

          It would effectively be “in honor” of someone. You’d need to fill in as much information as you have for them (Name and Email) in the “In honor of” fields, and then be sure to send us an email (questions at worldbuilders.org) telling us you did it, and for whom.

        • Brian-H
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

          Last year I made a donated for someone else. I used their name, address and email address and then used my information to pay.

  2. katherineofyork
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    I’m excited to see this llama video (I think I voted for goat, but llama is a good second). I’m glad there was no face kicking.

    Last night a friend and I were discussing a whole load of nothing, and got around to the topic of how much we just love honey. Honey on everything, especially cheese sandwiches or with peanut butter. When I woke up this morning, I was so glad that the drive is still going on and while I don’t have much money this month, I do have enough to add some bees to the money I already donated. As it says in the video, bees are such a great gift that have so much to give, apart from just the honey.

  3. Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    Coda: I was 10 minutes into my drive back home when the folks from Storybook Farm called me. Apparently their son had just gotten home and said something like, “Pat ROTHFUSS was here?”

    “I’m so sorry,” Bonnie said. “I had no idea.”

    I laughed. I can’t help but find it funny when people think I’m someone important.

    “I’m sorry I missed him,” I said. “Let him know I’ll be back at some point. We’ll make sure we schedule when he’ll be there.”

    It’s doubly nice to know that they were so kind to me before they realized I’m a bit of an author.

    I’ll say it again: People are good.

    • chaelek
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

      You ARE important to us, your loyal minio… Er, readers. You’ve no idea how many hours I’ve spent inside your world, and how much joy it’s brought me. Your characters are like old friends, always there to visit when I’m feeling lonely or sad. And your work with Worldbuilders gives me hope for humanity, and reminds me how good people can be.

    • EvilJohgo
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

      Chaelek is right. you’ve written stories that have become part of us. That’s not even all. When everyone whom you’ve written a piece of gathers together and reads about how you make the world an awesome place it makes us want to follow in your awesome foot steps and be awesome. Im afraid you’ve started a chain of events which cannot be undone. You’ll just have to accept that you’re an awesome person who adds more than the normal awesomeness to the world and everyone is going to be grateful and think highly of you.

    • Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

      More than a bit. A bit and two pieces, I’d say.

      I can totally see a midwestern mom telling her son “This nice man came because he wanted to kiss a llama for charity! He had to come today, in this terrible fog, and make a video! For Heifer International, you know, the folks that give people animals? His name was Pat Rothman, or something like that. . . “

      • Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

        Actually, it went…
        Me: A guy came all the way up here to kiss a llama for a charity.
        Son: Oh, okay.
        Me: He commented about the book you’re reading…he writes similar books.
        Son: Really? What is his name?
        Me: Pat. Pat Rof…
        Son: PATRICK? PATRICK ROTHFUSS?
        Zoom…he takes off downstairs and brings up an armful of books…all written by…yes, you guessed it…Patrick Rothfuss! I thought he was going to kill me! ;)

        • chronosnight
          Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

          @Llamakisses
          Ha! That’s awesome. You guys rock for helping Pat out! Have any other awesome animals we can make him come kiss next fundraiser?

          • Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

            Oh YES! Take your pick: Llamas, mini donkeys (if he wants to kiss an ass!), goats, 3 dogs of various sizes, a parrot that talks and sings and our very own dragon! He’s a bearded little guy that sleeps a lot! And, by next year…who knows what else we will be blessed with! By all means…send Patrick back!!!! :)

          • kueltzo
            Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

            Oh, I would love to see “bearded dragon” and “ass” on next years animal chart!

            Happy Holidays from a fellow Midwesterner (Illinois)!

          • ryan7273
            Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

            My vote is for Pat to kiss the donkey while singing Jackass Jackass (-:

        • Posted December 16, 2014 at 12:26 AM | Permalink

          OMG! Just watched the video – those ears! (on the llamas)

          So expressive.

          Even the llamas could not resist the Rothfuss.

  4. Kthaeh
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    People are good. And as a group, farmers are even more likely to be good than the average. I know a lot of them, and the story of Storybook Farm’s generosity of spirit and time doesn’t surprise me even a little.

    Your project, Worldbuilders, brings out the good in people, Pat. I don’t know if you hung around for the charity auction at Vericon this year. I couldn’t; had to get on the road to get back home. But I left a proxy bid for one of the items. The story that came back to me via Jo Walton was that someone else had also left a proxy bid on the same item. When the two bids were announced, total strangers apparently started chipping in their own funds to add to the proxy amounts. I honestly don’t know how much was added to my bid, nor do I have any idea who helped me win the auction, or what motivated them, beyond the desire to give money to Heifer. It was a beautiful story to receive along with the decks of playing cards I won. It left me really touched but with no one to thank. The only thing to do was to pay it forward, which I did in various ways this year. But paying it forward right here through Worldbuilders, where I had the chance to both support Heifer and give someone else a chance in the lottery was too good an opportunity to pass up. This is the kind of good you’ve helped put into the world, Pat. So thank you. Thank you.

  5. steveJD
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    I’ve always wanted to give to Worldbuilders but since a teacher’s salary in NC leaves very little left for giving outside of the stuff we give to here at home I was super excited to be a donor for WorldBuilders this year. I’m the artist behind Book Rapport! –those snazzy literary posters that someone just won a full run of in an auction for over $150 bucks which is more than I could have donated out of pocket this year–so this blog has been one big warm and fuzzy hug for me :)

    • Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

      You are so awesome, to donate your time a talent to this excellent cause.

      (I have no talent so I had to donate money.)

    • timonadler
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

      As someone with two children currently in the Wake Country school system, thank you for contributing to the youth of NC! I will definitely bid on any other items you put up!

  6. Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    I just donated for the very first time! I’m really excited to have helped a litte :)

  7. LenaMeow
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    I had already donated a few weeks ago, but Charlotte inspired me to donate again, thank you for sharing her story. This is the second year I am participating in your fundraiser, and both years I gave twice.

    I think you have a knack for inspiring charity and kindness in people. And I love that you inspire it in children who don’t have as much experience with this world, and may not fully comprehend yet how it is for others in it…but you still make them understand that helping others is one of the best things there is.

    Thank you and keep on shining, you are a beacon in this world: one that reminds people of the goodness that is around us and within us.

  8. dorwinrin
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    You have a superpower, Pat, something we’ve all dreamed of. And you keep using it for goodness. That is all colours and flavours of awesome.

  9. Kthaeh
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    $800k!!!

  10. cynrtst
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

    The Wayward Backers have zoomed up to $6,638 today! I wonder if people are donating from our page because you mentioned us? If so thank you. We’re slightly competitive.

    And I’m with the llama people’s son. If I came home and found out you had been there I would have freaked out too!

    Lastly, Oot has a good heart. How could he not, with you as an example?

  11. HeatherTristan
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    Hi. I’m Charlotte’s mom, and I honestly don’t know what to say. We’ve been following along every day with the fundraiser and we have just been astounded by the kind words and deeds of so many strangers who have taken time out of their busy lives not only to donate to a worthy cause, but to do it in such a way as to fulfill the wildest dreams of a 7-year old girl. Every time I see her amazement as she calculates how many heifers Heifer International can buy with the money from her page, I get all choked up.

    When she first told me she wanted to give a heifer to Heifer International, I told her that that was a very admirable goal, but one that we couldn’t manage on our own, and perhaps we could get together with our friends to see what we could do, but not to get her hopes up… She may never believe me again! I can not thank Mr. Rothfuss and his incredible community enough. There simply are no words. Not only has your generosity of spirit enriched needy people everywhere, but you have indelibly enriched our family and our lives by allowing Charlotte to be a part of it. This has been a life-changing experience all around – you should hear her already talking about getting a group of kids together for next year! Thank you. Thank you so much. You have deeply touched more lives than you can possibly imagine. Now I’m crying too much to type more, so just thank you will have to do.

    • Kthaeh
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

      Where is the like button when I need it?

    • Posted December 15, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

      Charlotte has become a favorite here in the office, and I know more than a few of the Worldbuilders Team has donated on her page, too.

      She’s a great example of how you don’t need a lot of money to make a difference.

      Thank her for me, would you? She’s awesome.

    • Amanda
      Posted December 15, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

      This makes me ridiculously happy. Thanks to both of you for being awesome.

    • Mephy
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:26 AM | Permalink

      After reading this post and watching the video I had the irresistible urge to find an extra $50 to donate through her page. :)

  12. Bethany
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    Having experienced the terrors of llamas first hand, I am so glad to hear that you were not savaged by them. I, too, am a first time donor, having only just discovered you as an author this year. (Honestly, I donated so I could vote for a goat, hoping to save you from the Llamas. Oh, and because it’s a good cause, and I knew my mom would be tickled pink to know her Christmas gift was a goat for a needy family. ;) )

    I can only join the chorus of those who have spoken to Oot’s kindness and generosity — He quite obviously learned it from you, sir. You are an inspiration to many.

  13. lodi16b
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Pat, that video was fun and worth my donation!

  14. ronercat
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Your videos and your blogs always make me feel a little bit better about the world. I want to take the time to thank you for that.

    This year during the fundraiser I was able to convince my friends to donate all of the fund we had placed in our CUBG jar (Conduct Unbecoming a Gentleman). It is a jar that we have to try and remind to be better people, kind of like a modified swear jar. We didn’t really have a plan for the money and we felt that this was a much better cause than spending the money on pizza or some other such nonsense.

    Again, thank you for all you do and hopefully we will be able to give more next year (hopefully without the aid of the jar).

  15. Jsherry
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    That wasn’t kissing a llama – that was risking the headline “Author Trampled, Has Beard Eaten by Herd of Llama.”

    You earned every penny of that stretch goal, sir. Only thing that could possibly top it would be if Oot were to sing a melodramatic first-person musical declaration of Spanish knighthood.

  16. Sara
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    First time commenter… a little shy, but needing to say how awesome I think you all are. Not only for raising so much money for Worldbuilders, but also for the genuine and happy way that you go about it. Can really see how much it means to everyone.

    I don’t have a lot… I am a carer for my Son who has disabilities. I have donated the small amount that I can though because I want to be a part of this.

    Thank you for providing me with this opportunity to join the awesome!

  17. Kthaeh
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

    $831K and 10 hours left of the fundraiser. *agog* You realize that this means it would only be reasonable to set next year’s goal at a cool million, yeah?

    Got my folks to kick in $100 today in lieu of xmas gifts for us. Woot!

  18. SporkTastic
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 8:45 PM | Permalink

    At the end Llama’s all like “who do I gotta kiss around here to get some treats?”

  19. spoonyspork
    Posted December 15, 2014 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    Hey! Donated today! I actually forgot it was shorter this year and was going to wait til Wednesday (payday), but luckily saw a post saying it was ending soon!

    Reason I wanted to wait til payday? Spent the week in Portland. Went to Powell’s. Y’all probably know how THAT went…

    (seriously. That place is freaking amazing. Portland is worth a trip JUST for that)

    THEN I saw that they were doing stuff for the fundraiser too. D’oh!

    Anywho, each and every person here is freaking awesome. Cried like a baby at least three times catching up on the blog. Then laughed til I cried about llamas. With bonus goat!

  20. Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

    Can you make the panoramic picture of the prizes an embiggen-able link? That’d be swell.

    • Brett
      Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

      It should be embiggenable now.

      That’s really fun to say out loud. “Embiggenable.”

      • Posted December 18, 2014 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

        Isn’t, though? I was telling my wife about this post and she kept saying, “Embiggenable” and giggling.

  21. Posted December 15, 2014 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

    The last day of the fundraiser always surprises me how it just blows any idea of a “goal” completely out of the water. Kudos to the Worldbuilders team pulling off another successful year, and making it all look so easy!

    P.S. The llama kissing is the most adorable thing I’ve seen all year!

  22. Oatmeal
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

    Together with my Husband (Mr. Twister the Clown), we have donated $300 to the lottery, and I purchased about $45 worth of stuff off of The Tinker’s Packs.
    We don’t really have $350 to donate, but we both put on our clown faces and went out and made balloons for the cause. As this is what he does for a living, it worked out really well. That day we earned $160, and I rounded the donation up to $200. Since then, people have randomly walked up to him and given him $20 for the cause. That allowed us to make our final donation of $100 tonight. I am thrilled we could do it.
    I am doubly thrilled because Husband has said that over the next year, every single $20 bill that he receives will get put into a special box, so that next year all of those funds can be donated immediately. He works 3-4 days a week, and generally gets at least one $20 each day, so I can’t wait to see how much we save up over the year for Worldbuilders.
    Thank you Pat. Thank you for being the amazing and inspiring person you are. Thank you for allowing me to share this awesome experience with my husband, and next year we will surely get our son involved too. It does us well to know that there will be more children with food to eat, more families with clean biogas stoves, more girls going to school, and a little extra sweetness and honey throughout the world. I cannot express to you how much you mean to me and my family.

  23. TheDelRobinson
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    I was really wanting to donate, at least something, this year. I’ve never been able to contribute before and really wanted to. But, alas, as usual, I’m broke and my job(which I’m grateful to have), decided that they were going to give us our December payout, the day after Christmas. But, I was able to shuffle and struggle and get things in order and still have money for Christmas this year. I have even ordered from the Tinker’s Pack for my baby sister’s gift. But, I really wanted to be able to donate, without buying something. Again, broke, December’s commissions not being issued for another week and half, I just figured I’d have to wait until next year.

    But then, I read your story about your boy and his reaction to finding out that some kids have no presents at all. And I said to myself, “Self, you can scratch up something. It may not be much, but surely you can donate a few bucks”

    So, I decided that even though I’m broke, which in the grand scheme of things is more like “broke”, (see the difference there?), I could come up with something. So, I decided that I am indeed blessed. That on my worst day of the past year, I still had a roof over my head, I had access to food and clean water and entertainment. I decided that I’m being selfish. I say I’m broke, but I have tobacco products sitting right here next to me. I’m broke, but I have a coke. I’m broke, but I have pizza rolls in the freezer. Broke just ain’t as bad as some of us think. So, I’m gonna skip a few days of tobacco use and even though my contribution is meager, it’s something and I hope that enough people can afford as meager a donation as I just made between now the ending of the event, that you end up raising over a million.

    Thanks for sharing your stories and your life with us Pat. You entertain us, but you also inspire us. You’re good people.

  24. ztemhead1
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat, love the blog, and donated last night just under the deadline. I wish I had seen your facebook posts sooner because I could have had my company double up on my donation. Next year I’ll do that and send you a receipt or something.

    I’m also wondering if you’re familiar with donating airline miles and credit card points to 501c(3)s. I looked on the http://www.guidestar.org/SearchResults.aspx guidestar website, and Heifer International is listed. My company, American Express, allows cardmembers to do this, and 1000 points = $10, which is a pretty good rate compared to other options. Just another way people can leverage found money into something meaningful.

  25. Posted December 16, 2014 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    The part about Oot made my wife cry. I might have teared up a little too, but that has not been officially confirmed. >_>

    The thing is, you mention wanting to teach and explain the idea of charity and giving to your son, but kids are smart. He has learned it by watching you do it. His goodness is a reflection of yours. Keep up the good work!

  26. lykashii
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    I never expected that a video of a man kissing llamas would make me cry! Thank you Pat, it was so heartwarming, such a lovely video and my favourite stretch goal (I won’t lie to you, I didn’t expect it to be).

    I haven’t really felt christmassy this year until I read this particularly warm and fuzzy blog entry. There is so much negativity in life these days. I currently work where people angrily complain that their popcorn isn’t salty enough or that the auditorium of their film is too warm, demand a refund or free stuff… it’s easy to forget that there are people in the world who think about others and give things freely.

    I’m rambling. I think a simple ‘Thank you for years of wonderful blog posts to keep me going” should suffice.

  27. MereShadow
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    Watched the llama kissing video with my two year old and she was yelling this at the screen…

    “Where are the penguins?”

    “He’s kissing a llama!”

    “…that’s Santa Claus”

    “Yay! He did it!” *clapping*

    Your awesome Pat, keep up the good work!

  28. McArdleOne
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    No one has posted this?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PARqyo_tHCE

    I am disappointed in everyone here who has obviously not shown their children this essential film experience. Also if you add a beard and a foot of snow, I think this is a decent re-enactment of Pat’s experience.

  29. bringbrong
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    I am very new to your blog (not to your books though) so this was the first year I was able to donate to WorldBuilders as well as learn about the Heifer charity. I want to say how amazing you guys are to put this together every year. not only are you busy with book signings, interviews and let alone continuing with your writing, But you are able to spend a good amount of your time donating to those who need it most. This warms my heart a lot, so i did my best with a 50$ donation as well as buying as many of my Christmas gifts off the Tinkers Pack!
    I cried yesterday when i found out how much you raised (tears of joy don’t worry), thinking of how many families and generations we will change for the future. You are my idol, I hope one day I can make as big of an impact on the world. Please give everyone down there a big hug from me for all the hard work and time they put in over the last few weeks. You are amazing.

  30. ced
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    Well I missed it — but that didn’t keep me from donating to Heifer on my own, and since Worldbuilders introduced me to Heifer, that’s all on you. So add a bit to the pile =)
    Too bad I’m such a disorganized mess right now, ’cause I had me some great ideas for that favor ring……

  31. northwoodsgirl
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    Pat, if you are giddy at saying three quarters of a million dollars may I recommend you try saying ….

    Worldbuilders raised over a MILLION dollars in 2014

    You can check the math with Vi, but when I combined totals from the summer Indiegogo and these last weeks; $205,032 + $881,905 = 1,086,937

    It has been a joy to watch the fundraiser. At different times over the last weeks I too kept refreshing watching the total climb, and skyrocket. It is humbling to know people all around the world took the time and made sacrifices to join with you to make a difference in the world.

    May your holidays be filled with the deepest joy and contentment for a job well done, no a lifestyle well modeled for the rest of us.

    Tracy

  32. Kendall
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    So much heartwarming goodness here! And I’m so happy Worldbuilders keeps getting bigger and bigger! This inspired me to look at my donation history with Heifer and realize I’ve been inconsistent, but mostly growing . . . well, I want to help Worldbuilders keep growing each year, so I’m putting a reminder on my calendar to increase my donation each year. (Yeah, I’m too flakey to actually remember otherwise.) I’m lucky and want to share the luck.

    Plus I want us (er, Worldbuilders) to reach $1 million next year, and keep growing!!!

    Kendall, inspired by Pat, Charlotte, Llama Kisses, and, well, everyone

  33. Soren
    Posted December 21, 2014 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    Hi, Pat. I’m sorry I have to break the nice Worldbuilders atmosphere, but I have a question (I’m not going to ask anything about your work, mind you).
    I’m studying, one year from university. I’m in my holidays, but despite so I have to do some projects; one of them consists on doing an exposition (and later an exam created by myself) about, amongst other options, your favourite person relatioend with american/britanic culture.
    Needless to say, I chose you, and I hope I’m doing a decent job at it. However, there is something I haven’t found, and that I would like to ask you: Which high school did you go to? If I read it in your blog, I can’t remember it, so I guessed it would be better to ask you (or any fan that knows the answer).
    If, by any chance, you don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine. If you want to, and have some anecdote you would like to write, that’s fine too.
    If you decide you want to, I may ask you some other questions, just so I can posh the project as much as possible.
    And, last but no least, if you happen to cross this in a long, long time, and you, by any chance, feel guilty for not having read it before (not likely to happen, but still), don’t worry. There are many, many other things to do, and they all are far more important than this question.
    Thanks!

  34. annabear
    Posted December 27, 2014 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Is the fundraiser over??! (Noob here) I guess that means I have a whole year to save for next year’s event. I wonder how many beehives can be donated if I save all of my 2015 honeymoney.

  35. Dkastner
    Posted January 1, 2015 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    Just checked out the lama video, and the first thing that came to my mind was “Is Pat trying to pull off a Harry Dresden look?” I’m rereading the Dresden Files and it made me laugh when I saw you wearing that jacket.

  36. Kthaeh
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat. Happy New Year. I hope you’re enjoying a well-earned rest and spending lots of time with the family. I’ve run across two things recently that made me think of you.

    First, a BBC article about Tolstoy and the secret to a happy life:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30536963

    Uhh. Yeah, I could. Quite easily in fact.

    Which all reminded me of the second thing, a TED talk, wherein the speaker asserts that money can buy happiness. It’s just that most of us have been trying to do it all wrong, for oh so long.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_norton_how_to_buy_happiness?language=en
    (less than 11 minutes).

    Keep spreading the awesome. xoxo

    • Kthaeh
      Posted January 2, 2015 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

      Darn. My html-foo is weak. I meant to include this quote from the BBC article:

      “After the crop failure of 1873, Tolstoy stopped writing Anna Karenina for a year to organise aid for the starving, remarking to a relative: “I cannot tear myself away from living creatures to bother about imaginary ones.” His friends and family thought it was crazy for one of the world’s finest novelists to put one of his works of genius on the backburner. He did it again following the famine in 1891, spending two years working in soup kitchens and fundraising. Can you imagine a bestselling author today setting aside their latest book to do humanitarian relief work for two years?”

      Yeah. That’s rather easy for me to imagine.

  37. Bertbert
    Posted April 24, 2015 at 1:18 AM | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to seeing what the llamas do with the bicycles…presumably they’re only stored away for the winter…

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