Being charitable

At the end of last year I posed the question does a $25 donation make a difference. Several people answered and said yes so I chose 8 organizations to donate $25 each to. It was really fun to choose the organizations and make the donations. It was also cool to get some handwritten thank you notes from a few places I donated to. 

So I am hooked. I am not going to be a major donor for anyone this year, but my hope is to make a lot of small donations to a bunch of different places (I may regret this at tax time). 

Today I bought a flock of ducks for $20 through Heifer International. I tried to add the extra $5 but it would only do $10 so I stuck with the ducks. 

My hope is to make a small difference, have fun, and learn how nonprofits handle small donors like me. Last year I became a monthly donor after I attended a breakfast for 1 nonprofit and they have hit it out of the park with their follow up and appreciation. I am even thinking about a small increase for this year. 

I love the websites that tell me the impact of my donation. I can feel like even my small contribution can make an impact. 

Strength

“The Lord is my Shepherd…”

Two years ago today I sat in the hospital with my friend Penny and then Bonnie as my husband had surgery to remove a tumor in his colon. I was so grateful for their presence to keep me company and distracted while he was going through his procedure. 

Fast forward  a year and 1/2 and my friend Cathy sat by my side. She gave me a silver necklace with a small cross that was a reminder that I didn’t need to be strong on my own. 

My husband is one of the strongest people I know. He has gone through some pretty tough stuff (there is another word I would like to use here…but I won’t), but he faces it like a trooper. Each time we got bad news, he took it all in and then we made a plan to move forward. We are still moving forward. 

I am so grateful for friends and family who have given my strength when I had none, and for my sister and brother-in-law who have been an ongoing sense of encouragement and just plain there for us. I am grateful for the journey(not the cancer-that part sucks), while tough and unpredictable, I have found I do have friends and family who help me to be strong. I am grateful for God carrying us through. 

I am grateful that I don’t have to be strong on my own. 

Promises

I am secretly an introvert so going to after work events is a big deal for me. I really love the J4 Leaders group and decided that it was worth standing between me and my yoga pants. Of course, as always I was glad I went. 

The theme for this year is promises. Specifically God’s promises. Lisa, who runs the group shared her wisdom and then gave each of us mats with the words promise of God for us to stand on. It might seem a little hokey, but I kinda love it. 

  
The mat is made so we can write on it. 

As I think back over the past year, I can claim many of God’s promises in my life and this is a great reminder. Things like God’s promise never to leave me or forsake me, and His promise to supply all of my needs. 

I look forward to this year and standing on the promises of God. 

Drama

I was telling my daughter about this Christian author I sort of follow on Facebook. A couple of years ago I was part of a bible study with one of her books. The group consensus was that they loved her book and she was so relatable. I struggled to get through the book. 

Our conversation was centered around people who are whiny about everything. The author on the surface has a husband who loves her, well behaved kids, and a pretty decent following on her blogs and books yet she never seems satisfied. I wondered what the appeal of her rants and repents and advice around both were until I looked at my Facebook feed. 

Several of my friends seem to have terrible lives. They are are always struggling and never happy. I feel bad for them. My husband refers to people like this as black cloud people. It seems like all the bad things happen to them. They are the 1 in 4 or 1 in 10 you hear about. 

I have to wonder though how much of it is about perspective. There are days when it seems like everything is going wrong. I can allow myself to get mad and complain or I can figure out how to deal with my circumstances and move forward. I will admit I do have some drama moments, but I try not to play them out on Facebook every day. 

I find that being positive and looking for solutions gives me much better results than whining and being angry. 

2 sides

I was reading a couple of different commentary threads on giving to nonprofits and how much goes to overhead, salaries, and the end recipients. 

A couple of the threads were based on posts with inaccurate information. For example, it is not true that $0 of Goodwill donations go to programs. In Central Florida and across the country Goodwill puts people in job training programs and gets them jobs every day. I gladly give to Goodwill. 

It is also reported that the CEO of Ronald McDonald Charities is not compensated. He may not be, or maybe he is paid by the McDonalds corporation. Several chapters I looked at had 6 figure CEOs. Honestly, I think having a decent salary is fine. Having excessive salaries and little results is not fine. 

There was criticism for glossy printing. In order to stand out, charities have to spend money to tell their story. If they do things on the cheap, they are criticized for not being professional enough. 

We outsource some of our most challenging social issues to nonprofits and say we want them to act like businesses, but then we criticize them when they do. 

Nonprofits tend to pay less and expect more from their employees. Many times their finances have restrictions on them. Often the glossy annual report is donated. 

I encourage people to check out the charities they support. Volunteer, get involved, call the CEO and ask questions, visit. 

There are always 2 sides…

Staying Positive

I took my car in this morning and the super chipper service guy told me it would be just under $300 to fix the clunking in my steering wheel. Less than I thought, so it was almost good news. An hour later the same super chipper guy called back to let me know they wanted to fix something else and out the door it would be $1000. I told him we wouldn’t be doing that today. Fortunately, Eddie is super handy and can fix that issue. 

We lost our mail key after holding onto it for 12 years. When we finally chased down the mail person we found a letter telling us the infusion center Eddie goes to will be out of network on our insurance as of yesterday. We are asking for an in network extension and hoping that comes through. 

It is so easy to get discouraged especially when you are working hard to save for something and it seems like you have to keep taking a step back, but getting mad and frustrated doesn’t usually solve the problem (although taking it to Twitter sometimes does). I am determined not to let my temporary circumstances ruin my day. 

I have learned over the past couple of years that it is really easy for me to get stressed out and obsess about things. I have to actually take a step back and think about how to problem solve for the best outcome. Sometimes that means I just have to let things play out and wait. Easier said than done. 

My goal though, it to stay positive even when things get tough. 

Random Thoughts

As we start into 2016, I want to be more on purpose about writing. All day, I have tried to figure out what to write and nothing has come but random thoughts. 

I figured it couldn’t hurt to write a few. 

Today was our “chemo Saturday” which means Eddie is tired all day. I got to be lazy. Enjoyed watching a couple movies in bed. 

I am wondering if my cats will learn to enjoy their new cat tree. One out of 3 does. 

I love yoga pants. 

I hope my car doesn’t cost a fortune to fix when I take it in tomorrow, but I can’t deal with the noise and feel of the steering wheel. 

It might be time to take down the Christmas decorations…

It feels warm enough for the beach, but the water is too cold. 

Excited about planning a trip to Europe in the Spring. 

There is plenty of football on TV, but I don’t really care about any of these teams. 

I chose 8 charities to give $25 to on the 31st. That was kind of fun and I might do that again soon. I realized that most of the places I gave to with the exception of St. Jude’s and UM, I love the programs and the CEO’s. #relationshipsmatter. 

I love my new job. 

I am so glad to have my sister in town and had a great time with family over Christmas and New Years. 

I need to choose a church-I think. Enjoying visiting a few. 

Started the bible through the year- wonder how far I will get. 

I wish my hair would dry straight. 

This is all so random. Maybe tomorrow, I will have something more interesting to say 😎.