Tuesday, November 3, 2009

30-Day Giving Challenge - Days 1 - 3

I saw the 30 Day Giving Challenge at Alyssa's and thought it was a great idea. I have a confession here, I'm not an unusually cheerful giver. In fact, my husband thinks I am down-right stingy sometimes.

I don't mind giving, but I tend to be leary. It seems like there is so much misuse. From large charities and churches, down to many poor families that I know personally. It drives me crazy that we give of our time and talents to a preacher that spends the money going out to eat and going to the movies. (I knew of two different preachers that were guilty of this.) One actually scammed a wealthy family out of a home for many years, she bought herself fur coats and diamond rings, I see the big shots of the denomination come down to the congregation meeting once a year. They are wearing Armani suits, Rolex watches and wearing diamond rings - all in the name of the Lord. There are other "non-profit charities" where the people "earn" several $100,000 wages per year.

As a teenager, I lived in a children's home for some time. I personally witnessed many cases of misuse of funds. While living there, the county gave us a microwave oven. It was placed in the kitchen, but oh no, woe to the child that dare touch that microwave! It was for group mother use only! Oh, or her friends or children that happened to be eating taxpayer's food/dollars. Children living in group homes must attend weekly counseling sessions, funded by taxpayer dollars. My counselor actually only counseled me for several minutes during our one hour a week sessions, the rest of the time she spent on the telephone with the county juvenile judge, discussing her flying her personal airplane.

The "poor families" that spend what little money they do get on cell phones, ring tones, designer clothes, tattoos, cigarettes and other drugs, soda pop and unhealthy convenience foods. The family that eats meat for every meal, while I'm feeding my kids beans and rice some meals so that we can give extra. I'm not saying that all do that, it's just I have seen this many times.

You say I have no compassion, I've never been there? True, my husband has never been unemployed, but I was a single mother of two daughters. I know what it's like to not get the child support I was supposed to get, but still have to pay the babysitter, the rent, and the utilities. I know what it's like to have $5 a week to go to the grocery store to feed myself and kids. Let me say, during these tough times, I did like to smoke, I did like to run around, I did like soda pop, but I chose to give up those things so I could put gas in my truck for the week to go to work, so my babies would have a roof over their heads, heat and food in their tummies.

My husband and MIL say we should give with a cheerful heart and let God worry about what they do with the money. Myself, I don't think it's wise to throw away good money. I question what is a truly poor person.

So this challenge is going to be an adventure for our whole family. After all, I have to feel like it's worthy of giving to. I talked to my kids about it and we came up with several ideas for giving to others. Some are monetary, some are not. The important part is they are on board with the whole idea.

*BTW, my kids are far from perfect here. When I explained this concept to Shayla, she replied, "Well, I rather get gifts than give them. LOL! I told her that we all like to get gifts, but maybe she'll think differently about giving after this month.

As you can tell from my blog posts lately, I am consistently, inconsistent, so I can't promise to post everyday, but maybe every few days, or even once-a-week.

Day 1: We had a hard week last week, and an even harder one this week. Somehow our lives have been turned upside down with appointments, therapies, and things to do.
So, I don't know if this truly counts as giving, but I gave myself and my kids the gift of time.

All day I tried practice my patience and to listen and do what they wanted to do. A slow down day was definately what we all needed. Everyone seemed to feel better afterwards.

Day 2: Since we were going to the Kings Kids program, which is right by a local elementary school, we decided for math today to count up all the Box Tops for Education labels that we have been saving. The schools use the Box Tops money to purchase library and classroom books. They receive 10 cents for each Box Top.
Saving Box Tops doesn't require spending any additional money. They are on the products many of us use, it just takes an extra second to cut them out. We keep them in a baggie on the refrigerator until it becomes too full.
We had saved $16 in Box Tops! Along with a few Campbell soup labels, too.
The school secretary was truly surprised when I asked if their school accepted these and told her we would like to give these.
It seems as though Shayla has already changed her mind. The experience was priceless for her. She said it felt really good to give!

Day 3: As a homeschooler, one of my favorite places is the library. We love all the resources available to us for free! However, funding for the libraries has been drastically cut. Since our bookshelves are way past full, we decided to donate some of our used books and movies to the library for one of their library sales.

We donated 43 books and 4 videos! Unfortunately, I did not allow Shayla to count out these donations. In fact, I didn't allow her in the same room. I know her weaknesses. She would have cried about everyone of those 43 books being given away! But, Morgan came out of herself and cheerfully took them into the library.

*Another good part of this challenge is eliminating what is clutter in my home, just before the holidays!

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