"I don't think you ever stop giving.
I really don't.
I think it's an on-going process.
And it's not just about being able to write a check.
It's being able to touch somebody's life."
Le Chat Noir Writers Circle @ the Sulzbacher Center
Here we are at the end of NaBloPoMo. As I look back to the beginning, I think I may have gotten off track a little here and there, but kept writing nonetheless. There are several other people who bring me joy that I didn't write about. Like Akasa Wolfsong; Stephanie Darnell, Maithri Goonetilleke, and Queen Dani. Each of them in their own way have shared their truths with me. They have lifted me up when I was down, given me hope and often made me laugh. It's possible that my old friend "grief" has been a common thread in our blog relationships. Each of these big-hearted bloggers has offered his/her own personal grief journey to make a difference for themselves and others. I, for one, have been the recipient of much love and compassion.
Another common theme that all the bloggers I've written about share is their desire to give back to their community and the world. I spent most of this day at a local homeless shelter with some of my writing buddies organizing their library. We collected over 20 BIG boxes of books which seems pretty amazing for a small group like ours. And we had help from our local Panera Bread Company who let us put a collection box in their front lobby. Sorting and shelving books is a lot like sorting underwear, so my hands just picked up where they left off in Oklahoma. When we first looked at the piles we felt a little overwhelmed. But once we took a breath and dove in, there was a real sense of accomplishment as you see the work taking shape. Doing for others, feels good from the top of your head, to your tippy toes.
In the days ahead when you are feeling frantic about buying the right gift for the right person, don't forget to consider donating to charity. It doesn't have quite the same feel as unwrapping a diamond ring, or cashmere sweater, or shiny new bike. But knowing that your money has purchased a goat or chicken to help sustain a whole family is a pretty awesome feeling. And what about making sure people in drought-stricken countries get clean drinking water? Once some friends of mine gave me a Mother's Day gift of a sewing machine for a woman in another country so she could start her own business. I have to say it was one of the best gifts I've ever received. Partly because there was so much love in it, and partly because I know how good it feels to have a sewing machine and turn pieces of fabric into treasures.
Here are a few suggestions, though I'm sure if you look in your own back yard you will find a place to give:
The Wedding Ring Project at Tough Angels: Our goal is to assist in creating safe havens for women and children of violence in developing countries, providing information to educate them about HIV and supporting them in restoring dignity, hope and promoting healing.
Heifer International's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.
Episcopal Relief and Development
Possible Dreams International empowers rural and remote communities in areas of extreme poverty and/or high disease prevalence by engaging dynamic rural community networks and offering compassionate holistic care in the form of emergency relief and sustainable development solutions.
Episcopal Relief and Development: is an international relief and development agency and a compassionate response to human suffering on behalf of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
The Oaks Indian Mission, by God's grace, partnering with Christian communities and tribal nations prepares Native children to lead and serve.
Women for Women International: helping women survivors of war to re-build their lives.
Charity Water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.
Today I'm grateful for a home I can call my own. I'm grateful for recovered health, and I'm grateful for my son John who came into my life 38 years ago and has kept me on my toes ever since.
Wishing for you time shared giving to others.