Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Cheer!!!!

About a month ago, I gave notice to the African orphanage that I would not be sponsoring my two children for school anymore. It was a brutal, guilt-ridden decision, but I knew it was time. In just over two years, I’ve sent close to $3,000 and don’t even know if the children are doing well, let alone speaking english. If you recall this blog, you’ll remember there’s been trouble since the beginning :(.  I’ve since found out Mwajuma was walking 5+ miles to school even though I’d paid for transportation, and never did get verification for the ‘increase’ in school fees.  I haven’t had a photo since early 2013 :(. I was able to stomach it for a while because there are children involved, but it really just didn’t feel good. 

Luckily I’d found and contacted some other volunteers who’ve been there, and I heard at least they were actually IN school. I also learned that all the other children there had sponsors then, so the orphanage seemed to be having luck on that front. 

One thing I know and have accepted about myself, is that I like to give/get/see and feel results.  I like to build, to create, to express gratitude and appreciation loudly. I’m a very verbal and visual person, but also very visceral, and none of those needs were being met with this charity. :(.  I have to stop guilting myself, and just know that the two years of private school I provided for Mwajuma and Rogati has helped them immensely. Whether they go back to public school, or another sponsor comes along, they are ahead of where they were for sure.  I will hope and pray that I’ll get to actually have contact with them someday. 

One day, I hope we meet again :). Much love M&R! 

As for me now, I need a new way to give! One that I can feel great and happy and proud and SURE of! One that I can see and hear and feel  like it’s making a difference! 

My personal style of giving is typically non-monetary. I like to HELP. I’ll help you move, I’ll help you paint, I’ll help whatever. I’ll give you my time if we can do something productive with it. I’d rather help you wash your car than just go to lunch anyday! Volunteering is RADDDD! I even once won an award for a project about it!  It’s in my blood to DO :) 

BUT, I understand that money is where it’s at for most people in need.  As time becomes more and more precious and fleeting (seems like daily it’s flying faster), I can find the happy medium between giving money and time :).

SOOOOOOOO. yesterday, I was GIVEN multiple hundred dollars worth of goods and services all for simply kindness and goodness!!! Merry Christmas eve it was indeed!! I cried both different times I was so pleased/touched/honored. 

But the best part of it was, it got me thinkingggg!!!!! (surprise, surprise!)  I cried tears of joys for so long after my eyes are still swollen and barely open nearly 12 hrs later! 

What I realized is that I want to keep giving, but to someone closer to me, that I can see,  know and feel the positive change! Maybe this could be a tipping point to refocus someone down a positivity path that I want nothing more than to share!!!! It only takes a moment to shake things up :) 

Here’s my plan!  In this particular Christmas blog, I want to give someone special a one-time $500 Very Merry Season Cheer up check!!!  I’m not going to advertise this beyond the standard blog post because certainly I don’t want to get bombarded with requests...... and all the better if it’s a staple reader or good friend of mine going thru some financial struggles!  There will only be ONE recipient though, so please don’t think of me as money tree! Here’s what I’ve come up with to make it most fair, fun and thoughtful: 

  1. Please only inquire if you are having a significant financial need. You know what this means people... not to fund a purse or latte addiction. :) 
  2. Please write me a letter answering these five questions found here and Bonus question #6: What you think you can do (or already do) to help others in your own unique way? Yup, this is write-about-what’s-awesome, not-what-is-sucky essay :).  If you’re following #1 above, I’ll know you have a need and don’t need to hear about it. Instead rather, reflect on what you have, what you love, what you give, and what you are working towards!!  
  3. Please enjoy the process of doing this!!!! Since there will only be one recipient, I’d rather you feel good about writing and exploring your deep self, with hope but not expectation.

That’s it! Send it by Sunday night to my email, I’ll pick on Monday!  THANKS!!

Whyyy?? Why don’t I just keep the extra money I will have  since I’ll not be sending it to Africa anymore (especially with the expenses i’ve got coming up verrryyy sooonnnnn-- stay tuned!!!!)?  Because a million reasons, like those quotes above!!! 

... but there's one reason that is most profoundly stuck in my head, especially of late.  It's that my mother, with all her financial troubles and debt, is the most generous person on earth and my father, doing pretty dang nicely monetarily in recent years, is generous in his own way but certainly not financially.  I love my dad. He’s a RAD guy. He’s a stud, he’s a badass, good golly he still holds athletic records at his high school!! He’s smart, he’s motivating, he’s got a good heart, he’s playful, fun, he talks to everyone, he’s charming, he’s an all-around great guy. He’s willing to help with just about any projects (like father- like daughter). I’m super proud he’s my dad. But he’s got a pretty tight fist. Not clenched, but tight for sure.   

Mom on the other hand gives almost too much. Since pretty early, I’ve taken on this self-seated role of ‘protector’ over her because I feel people take advantage of that rare pure generosity.  It’s only been recently I have cracked the door of realization that she doesn’t want a protector. She likes to give, and she likes to give in bountiful, beautiful, unconditional ways.  It’s pure magic her soul.

So, my reason to give?  I find that I am 50% of both my parents' financial standpoints.  I can be suuupper generous, but I’ve also been a super saver my whole life (see my $ blog!). The reason I have money is because I don’t spend money without dang good reason and usually an exhausting internal debate (that is very likely the reason I don’t even like to shop). And as awesome as both my parents are, I can clearly see that I want to emulate the generosity. 

I know deep in my soul that to give is the greatest gift you can give yourself, yet I also really like to have a good reason!  Thus, I’ll just create a good reason, and for me, that is getting people to consider the beauty of life, and explore all of their potential :). 

Merry Merry Merry Christmas or whatever Holiday you may be celebrating this season!!!