52 Weeks of not just taking and giving thanks but GIVING while giving thanks!

Kirsten Carlson and her family (Mike, Emma and AJ) are part of our faith community @ Peace. Kirsten is not only a mom, author, Little Dove's "Little Ones" teacher/leader, and exceedingly well trained former Air Force Pilot but a passionate follower of Jesus.  On her new blog, she has posted a YEAR LONG challenge in giving (click on that line to go to her blog).  I read it and decided as soon as ingested it that THIS IS WHAT WE ALL NEED TO DO! So, I'm shamelessly ripping off Kirsten's words (of course, since her words are contextual to her blog, I'm adapting and editing some of it for MY purposes – thanks Kirsten!).  Here's where I am on this…part of our faith community's values is our prayer and lifestyle to live "OUT" in the world with the presence of God's Kingdom.  I could go on and on about this but I'm simply going to allow Kirsten's words to speak for themselves.  THIS is what joining God's mission is all about.  Other than that, check it out.  Sign up for Kirsten's blog, email reminders, and build a lifestyle of thanksgiving by imitating Jesus who so loved that HE gave!


"Ok, with all the hullabaloo surrounding this past week's election, and the fighting over which side has a better plan to support Americans, I realized something: neither side has got it right, and We The People are a huge part of the problem. I think very few of us are truly satisfied with anyone in government, but how can the apex of a country be strong, when its foundation is cracked, broken and weak? I think it is time for a change, but instead of focusing at the top, I think it's time to rebuild our foundation, but more on that in a bit…

While I truly believe proponents of both the left and right sides of the aisle want to help those less fortunate, we are all selfishly motivated, and nobody actually wants to take it upon themselves to get the job done. Both sides are lazy, expecting someone else to deal with the problem. Here's the reality:

We are a nation of riches, and yet we hoard things for ourselves and expect someone else to deal with the poor. Both sides do this. I will argue that if you are wealthy and not helping those in need, you are wrong. But I will also state that if you believe it is the rich, and not you, who must give more, you might want to rethink your definition of rich as you read what I have to say next:

 I attended a church service one morning where an African-born priest challenged his congregation saying, "I will give $20 to anyone who can come forward and name every possession they own in one minute." Can you do that? Can you name every single possession you own? He could when he was a child in Africa. Of course no one could do it at this church-including myself-and I am willing to bet you wouldn't be able to either. If you can't pass that test, I am going to label you as wealthy, because the reality is, you are.

Let me say, if you have a roof over your head, food, gadgets, a car, and/or anything else in excess, there is someone looking at you thinking, "That person has so much, and yet he or she gives so little." 

So, as you expect others to give their fair share, may I ask what you are doing for those people less fortunate than you? Are giving consistently to the causes you so vocally support? I hope so, but I fear most are not. Whether you expect the government, or someone else, to be the humanitarians that we are called to be for each other, you are wrong. I know it sounds harsh, but either way, if you are not taking it upon yourself to help in your community, you are the lazy and selfish one.

So, with that said, are you ready to give your fair share to others? I think it's time we all stop accumulating massive amounts of "things" for ourselves and start trying to support others. It doesn't have to be a lot-I'm not asking you to never buy something for yourself again or give away all your possessions and become a monk-but if everyone focused on giving something of themselves to others once a week, think how much better we could make our little communities-our foundation-and how that could translate to our states and nation (we'll go for the world next year! Lol!)

So, I am starting a 52 Weeks of Giving Challenge.

Each week I will post a new idea on how you can give back. There will also be a second idea to take the giving challenge a step further. It might be donating more money, or perhaps extra time. You can choose whichever level fits you and that level may change from week to week, but I encourage everyone to take part. You may not be able to give every week, and that's ok too! Just participating when you can will make a difference! 

I will leave you on this last note. When I started volunteering for different charities, I went in with a heart wanting to change people's lives for the better. Turns out, it is my life that has changed for the better. With each home I visit, contribution I make, smile I offer, card I send, it is I who walks away blessed. I pray that you too will experience the same amazing blessing on this journey. Our first challenge IS POSTED HERE (click on that link).  

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