Well, today (Tuesday) is the day.  giving tuesday.

Did you participate?

If not, you still have time!

Not sure what I’m talking about?  check this out.

I was struck more than normal this year how much we overlook THANKSGIVING all together.  I know in my own life I didn’t really stop and pause to think, truly think and list out all the things I’m grateful for.  In what I could easily deem the hardest year of my life, I need to reflect and be thankful.  I’ve spent much of today mulling over what would be on that list. 

The main one – time and resources to be able to give.  Giving brings me so much joy.  I love giving gifts; creative, thoughtful gifts.  I like to really think about the person and reason.  I’m the impulse giver and the one who likes to just give just because. 

So, in the tune of the theme of the day, I’ve thought about the places I give and the why. (some of my “why” will come in a later post about advent)

Let me start by saying that giving to my local church just happens.  Its more than me giving my “tithe” because its something we have been commanded to do.  I think its the way that we share our resources and allow God to share His message and plan.

1.  The main place I give my money and time is the American Cancer Society.  It may seem self serving since this is my job.  But, long before I worked for the American Cancer Society, this was a place close to my heart and has only grown as I’ve learned more about how this organization saved my life and is committed to saving birthdays.  You can support this organization by supporting me on my personal Relay For Life page

2.  Another organization that I give to is my beloved Ouachita.  Yes, I’m an annual fund donor and I support the Ouachita Student Foundation and periodically I support other projects as they come to my heart.  But, Ouachita is also place I serve with my time.  If you are an alum, I challenge you to think about students who could benefit from the same experience we had….tell them about the place we love!  I also encourage you to give – give what you can $100 really does make a difference.  I’ve seen the spreadsheets in August when school starts, in January when the semester chances and in May when graduation rolls around.  $100/ year or per month.  Both gifts make a big difference.  www.obu.edu/give

3.  Compassion International is another place I love.  It’s also a place I give money and time.  I love when they need people to work one of their tables to encourage people to sponsor a child.  My heart bleeds thinking about the places and spaces that people around our world call “home”.  As I type this sitting in a hotel room that to much of the world’s population would considered 5-star, I realize this didn’t even make my work “preferred” list.  I recently read an article that stated if you make more than $32,000 you are in the richest 1% of the world.  While I didn’t fact check, I think the point was the most valid part.  We, most of US, are richer than 99% of the worlds population.  Let me say that again.  Because we bring in a monthly paycheck, live in a home, have running water, sewage and electricity that works most of the time we are “better off” than 99% of the worlds population.  Its all about perspective.  If we only compare ourselves to other Americans then we see ourselves as the 99%, but if we compare ourselves to the world, we are the 1%.  That for me puts much of the “things” and “stuff” I have in perspective.  Wonder how you can sponsor a kid? Or give a one time gift to help with disaster relief, medical assistance, or leadership development?

4.  Closely tide to Compassion International is my love for the work of World Vision.  I get so excited every fall when my gift catalog shows up.  I really do start translating it to gifts.  What about my friends who love bacon, would they love me to buy a goat in their honor?  Or a friend who has worked to build a successful small business what if we empowered and educated a woman to learn how to make a business that would sustain her family.  Or, rather than give fruits and vegetables how about we teach the village children to farm and build a lifetime career. 

Other areas to consider a gift:
Samaritan Community Center
The Cobblestone Project
Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child
-a local need in your community-hunger, home, coat, clothes, personal care items, a roof, a warm meal, a cup of cocoa
-a ministry at your local church
-a family who has lost a loved one and will be spending the first Christmas alone-a coffee date to occupy their mind might be the best gift
-a family who is sitting at Children’s Hospital with their kid trying to survive – mom and dad might need a night away from the hospital with a dinner just for themselves
-a local store owner trying to get their business off the ground – #shoplocal

Be creative.  Open your eyes.  Needs are all around.