52 Weeks of Giving | 8

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In pursuit of nourishing a heart of giving [nourish is my One Little Word for 2017], I have been deliberately, purposefully, searching for ways to give more. Give of my time, give of my resources, give from my heart.  This is about giving generously, not reluctantly, but out of the full measure of giving from the gifts God has given to me. 

This week, I put together two blessing bags. I contacted Morgan, the director of The Dream Campaign, a non-profit organization here in the area who are coaching, speaking into the lives, changing underprivileged kids' dreams for the better. A 'side' ministry are blessing bags for teen girls who have nothing, who can barely afford to eat let alone purchase feminine type products (which we all know are not cheap!).

Putting these bags together did my heart so good! Thank you Lord for the opportunity and the gifts You give first!

 


52 Weeks of Giving | 7

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While I was at the commissary recently - we have a commissary on Hunter Army Airfield; in fact, they just renovated the commissary with gorgeous stained cement flooring, a new produce section and all new free-standing freezers (like normal grocery stores). It certainly makes for a more pleasurable shopping experience. Some of the cashiers have been there as long as we have - we arrived to Hunter '92-'94. 

Anyways, while shopping I picked up a stack of boxes of spaghetti and as many cans of spaghetti sauce. It's actually the same kind of spaghetti sauce we use, because even though I love to cook, I haven't made my own spaghetti sauce. Not sure why, really.

So, my plan was to drop off the filled bags of groceries to The Lighthouse, a food pantry at Compassion Christian. But, our church had a Bumper Bag weekend; whomever wants to participate puts bags of non-perishable groceries on their bumpers (at their bumper) and the traffic team from our church would pick up the bags of food for you. It's a pretty neat set up. I think The Lighthouse distributes many, hundreds and hundreds of bags of groceries every month to the needy.


52 Weeks of Giving | 6

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This sweet family, you know them mostly by all the 8 x 8 pages I have been making of Tucker and Silas - their almost-2-year old twins. Well, now they have another set of twins, Ridge and Asher. Great names. Love this family. We've known Maggie for many years now. She loves our boys and well - we love hers, too.

So, Maggie has 4 little ones in tow. The babies were born preemie's but they are home now and thriving. But, 4 little ones in tow. Of course, someone prepped the Take Them A Meal website for people to sign up and bring food. Hello. No brainer.

Except, pain levels almost everyday have been rough. But, it's this family. I've taken them two meals already and signed up for a third. I just took them one of the two the other day and Maggie whispered to me that the meal I made was the best they've had. Well, maybe! It is delicious I don't mind saying. Roasted Chicken, roasted red pepper, pesto fettuccini. Yum, and yum!

The sacrifice was cooking through the pain. And, the 40 minute drive one way in Savannah traffic close to rush hour. Otherwise, just a joy. Joy in the giving.

 


52 Weeks of Giving | 5

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I realized some might wonder why I'm recording 52 Weeks of Giving because when acts of service are done in secret, then my Heavenly Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:4).

I guess I'm not looking for a reward. Do I want the blessing of the Lord? Yes.

But, I believe the Lord placed my One Little Word on my heart - NOURISH - for 2017. I also believe His Spirit spoke into me that I needed to nourish a heart of giving. That's what I'm doing.

I'm nourishing a heart of giving.

I'm recording it because I'm also a storyteller.

Simple as that.

And, having a record of my giving will even more be a record of God's blessings! Because "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). My gifts, my year of giving is first His gifts to me.

I'm recording His blessings on my life.

It is so good!

This week of giving is all about sponsoring a child through Compassion International. We received our packet for Karellys, who is from Ecuador. She's three right now, and beautiful. I can't wait to GIVE her more!

I needed to do something outside of the box. This could change someone's life. I can be apart of that change - for the good.

I chose a child from Ecuador because of our sons really. A few years ago, John and Jarrod, chose to spend a week on a short term mission trip to Ecuador, serving the people there, working for the Lord. So, Ecuador has a place in my heart. 


52 Weeks of Giving | 4

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The Trumps and the Adkinsons' in their own way captured something wonderful inside of me. As a thank you for sharing their life with me I've been creating scrapbook pages of their little (big) families. This also gives me a rush of joy in the making, joy in the giving. It's truly amazing how God does that! Giving, the sacrificial kind, whether physically or financially, is always the best kind of giving. Others are blessed, yes, but the neatest thing - I AM BLESSED!

I think if everyone could, first hand, experience blessing from giving, that rush, that overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy just because one gives, there would be more of it happening in our world.


52 Weeks of Giving | 3

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Using my mom's homemade cinnamon roll recipe, Jeff and I got up early on Christmas morning and made lots of pans of cinnamon rolls. We used foil pans, wrapped up the rolls in more foil and stacked them in our pie safes to keep them toasty warm. Then we drove on to Hunter Army Airfield. When we stopped at the main gate to show our ID cards we told the military police who were working the gate we had something for them and gave them the just-out-of-the-oven homemade cinnamon rolls. We hope they enjoyed the blessing.

We enjoyed the giving.

We also drove into Jeff's old unit who keeps a staff duty non-commissioned officer on duty and gave he and his runner another pan of the delectable cinnamon rolls. Driving off post the back way and through the back gate we stopped there also and gave them a pan of cinnamon rolls, too.

So as not to think it was just all about others and giving, we'd also made several pans for us to enjoy Christmas morning too:)


52 Weeks of Giving | 2

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A little closer to home this week in the gifting department. I'm not sure where the idea came from. I think one of the boys might have been playing and singing The Devil Went Down to Georgia, by The Charlie Daniels Band, which they've uploaded to their phones, a long time favorite of Jeff's and because it is one of his favorites it is one of our (mine and the boys') favorite. I wondered if Charlie Daniels was still performing in concerts, because, well, he's not young anymore. Lo' and behold in my internet search he does still perform and he would be in Jacksonville, a 2- 2 1/2 hour drive from here. It took me awhile to figure out how to order tickets. By the time I placed my order the venue was packed out and the closest I could get was row N. 

I was pretty stoked about the gift. Probably expected to much as Jeff wasn't overly emotive. I know he likes Charlie Daniels and I thought it was a great gift just not sure what he felt about it. I'm going with it was the thought that counts with this one and a lesson that not every gift will necessarily be appreciated, or experience the same excitement as the giving.

It truly is in the giving though that counts.

While I would have loved more excitement at my gift I was - and still am - excited about having given him this unique and thoughtful gift. 


52 Weeks of Giving | 1

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Jeff and I purchased the fabric from Jo Ann's fabric during a huge sale the end of November. We originally visited the store for fabric for Roman centurion tunics, where we found appropriate fabric to make 4 tunics. These would be made by a friend of Jeff's who sews for a living. While at JoAnn's I noticed Fleece Anti-pill was also on sale and I immediately knew I'd pick out two pieces to make a large hand-tied throw. 

This baby is thick, warm, snuggly, and I love how it turned out. The biggest surprise, it only took me two hours from start to finish! John helped me lay out the fabric on the rug in the living room and we tried taking turns with the scissors but I think my son forgot how to use scissors...ah, let's just say I took the scissors from him. I made 10 to 15 cuts. Tied. Made more cuts. Tied. All the while watching Netflix. Then I was finished.

We had a white elephant gift exchange during our Christmas party and this is my gift into the mix. No white elephant from me! I was thrilled with who ended up with the gift. I saw how they appreciated it.

A lovely beginning to a year of gift giving.

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38


52 Weeks of Giving.

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I began making a list the awhile back and just recently began a 1000 days list of 100 things I'd like to do or accomplish in the next 1000 days (that is almost, but not quite, 3 years). Should Jesus return this list will be null and void.

I've been in the season of heart giving recently and that must have been where the idea formed. Then I read this article titled, Hospitality is Heart Space: Take it On the Road, and it solidified that one line item on that 100 things list. Line item 19. The intention of the article I don't believe was giving, per se, but it snuck in anyway.

52 Weeks of Giving in a Row.

No holds barred.

Just intentional, heart-spaced giving.

I began jotting down intentional ideas of giving, some financially related, others serving related, all sacrificially given.

Bags of food for the Lighthouse ministry at church

Give to HIS Radio

Give blood

Care package to a soldier

Pick a charity to give to

Operation Christmas Child

Read a book to the elderly

Sponsor a child through Compassion International

Serve the homeless dinner

Make a meal for family in need

Buy a meal for a homeless person

Pay for the car behind me in the drive thru

Pay for a military families restaurant bill

Buy a movie ticket(s) for the person behind me

Heifer International

Compassion International

Purchase items from places that then turn around and give back

Give to build a well in Zimbabwe (through our church's children ministry

Sponsor a mission trip

Make blessing bags for the homeless

Blankets and coats for the homeless

Adopt a refugee family

Open my home for some southern hospitality

Handmade gifts

Surprise gifts to loved ones

...and so many other ideas.

I'm going to look for opportunities to give financially, give sacrificially, give by serving, give hospitality, give blessings, give compassion, and then...give some more. My One Little Word for 2017 is Nourish (post to come), and my prayer, my action over this coming year, is to nourish a heart of giving.

Similar to my 52 Gratitudes project I hope to document my 52 Weeks of Giving if for no other reason than to see what God has done. Documenting is what I do. It has become apart of me, documenting my life, documenting my heart, recording the important stuff, and simply keeping a record. Putting my heart of giving, my year of giving, down on paper, for me to reflect on how God has used me, how it has changed me, will be in its own way an Ebenezer - stones of remembrance; visual proof, and a reminder, of the work God does in my life through 52 Weeks of Giving.

Just maybe this year long practice of giving will so mold a heart of compassionate, intentional, giving that I become a gifted-giver.