a year of giving.

as promised, the unveiling of 2019’s word of the year comes with purpose. over and over for the last few months calls to service have been showing themselves. opportunities to extend kindness and share any gifts I’m able to. we have been looking for places in our life to minimize the “stuff” in order to better flourish in areas we find the most joy. so, with today being #givingtuesday I thought it would be the perfect time to start manifesting our intention for next year.

the year of giving.

a·bun·dance (n.)

  • bountifulness of the good things of life; prosperity.

it seems as though we are at a time in our life where we are less at the point of survival and are beginning to peer over the edge of thriving in many aspects. a sweet spot of reflection. in that space we get to choose what to do with our abundance. humility & grace & compassion can grow here, even though they are three of the hardest paths to follow. we all get into our ego and habits even despite our best efforts to live with good intentions. but I want to raise little humans who help. who are mindful. who show kindness without being prompted or without seeing need; humans who show up because it is in their hearts to do so. mostly because it has so beautifully been shown to us.

the last two years we have really allowed ourselves the “glow up” or the reveling in a newfound freedom to explore what we want as a family. never in their growing up years could I afford this, financially or emotionally. while I wish I could go back and change the years of trying to survive, because the risk and reward affected them equally, I cannot. the result has made for some amazing memories though. we have travelled, done lots of things together as a family, and even indulged a little more than we should. we truly learned to work as a team through the hard times and how to enjoy each other’s presence no matter the situation. 2018 was the culmination of meeting our needs and checking off most of our big wants. the littles, who a friend recently pointed out were more medium than little, are at a new age of understanding. they save their own money and know what it means to not have enough, as much as they know the excitement of acquiring a thing they have worked hard for. now, is a great time to share our abundance. we don’t have a lot, we have enough to share though. i’ll forever be ballin’ on a budget which is why I have really sought out ways to start small.

without being preachy, I wanted to talk about some of the ways we are taking advantage of #givingtuesday and how we plan to give back now and in the future year(s), as well.

  1. the internet is a buzz today with opportunities to donate in any denomination or make purchases that benefit a charity or organization. so, if none of the things I mention below are in your wheelhouse, there are tons of options that require just a few extra clicks. and keep in mind that most of these larger fundraising efforts aren’t perfect but they are better than nothing. one of the easiest ways to give is to by shopping with companies who give back. there are a ton of retail sites offering a portion of your purchases to be donated. take the extra step to make conscious choices about how you spend your money over this holiday season. some of my favorites are, The Bee & The Fox, ETSY, Vital Proteins, and Lush.
  2. the gift of life. this one involves quite a bit of work but the power of this gift is incredible. a while ago, a friend shared the Gift of Life Marrow Registry on their page. I’ll leave it up to you all to research the benefits of this cause but order the kit, get swabbed, and send it back. Gift of Life has over 300,000 donors in 48 countries and have helped make over 15k bone marrow matches. it was painless and quick and my donation could help for years down the road. you can also take today to sign up as an organ donor or give blood. not all contributions need to be monetary to make a difference.
  3. shop small & support your community. this is a no brainer. the reciprocity has immediate impact.
  4. use your phone. yep. there’s an app for that. I’ve found three favorites, actually, that are well worth the precious storage space. Charity Miles is just like any other fitness tracking app you would download. it lets you choose a charity, log activity from walking to bike riding, and turns your miles into money that are donated directly. they also have some cool affiliate links that multiply your support. Give Tide is one I’m most excited about. it rounds up the change from your purchases, by linking to your card, and shows you what impact a single person/family can really make. you can set a weekly cap, track your donation, and create a team of family and friends to meet fundraising goals. it’s pretty customizable, user friendly, and has the same security features used by other sites like Acorn and Venmo. CoinUp is a similar app you could use. and lastly, Share The Meal. this app gives you the opportunity to purchase a meal for someone in need all across the world. this company’s costs are paid by grants so 100% of your donations goes directly to feeding a child. you can go a little further and join The Table which is their “monthly giving community” that uses direct cash contributions to allow families to decide which food purchases best suit their needs. this is important because we often times don’t allow those in situations of struggle to make choices for themselves which causes cyclical dangers. empathy goes a long way.
  5. this one might be the biggest change for our family… double up on necessities. we have gotten the wish list for a local organization St. Vincent de Paul, who helps provide goods, shelter, and financial assistance to our community. the plan is to take advantage of two-for sales and promotions on items from their list of needed supplies every time we buy them for ourselves. we keep one, donate one.

that’s a lot to digest, I know. what I’m trying to remind myself is that small steps are still steps forward. we will give time, goods, or money however we are able, when we can. and I know that we are not all called to service and we don’t all have the capacity donate. but I think we can all find a path that works even if it’s just being a bit nicer. I am all too aware of the ripple effect created by positivity and kindness. through this intention I hope we find ourselves a little more open minded and lot more grateful.

cheers to the year ahead, our year of giving.

“each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. and God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

2 Corinthians 9

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