Thursday, October 30, 2008

Giving is a Lifestyle

Just a couple of days ago, someone rang our doorbell. It was a family down the street who had come to welcome us to the neighborhood.They were so kind and friendly. The wife had crocheted a pretty little hand towel as a welcome gift. My heart was touched at the small gesture of thoughtfulness. The same day, this family gave our son a ride home from school as he has been walking home everyday. We also received a surprise gift in the mail last week from my parents with a beautiful wine rack and plaque that was handmade. It was exciting to receive mail that day as I had been feeling down and lonely since we are so far from our friends and family.

Just yesterday I received a call from a sweet lady who is an expert coupon clipper and user. She saves so much a month using them at stores that have double and triple coupon savings. She called me yesterday and is going to pick me up and help me get started saving money on our groceries. How amazing it is that she would share her strengths and abilities to help others? These precious people are examples of givers, loving and helping others with their time and resources. And their ways of reaching out did not cost much if any money. It just cost a little of their time.

These were seemingly small acts of kindness and love, but the impact they made upon us were tremendous. We should never underestimate the ministry we can bring to others even through small gifts and acts of love.Giving should be a lifestyle and not something we do on special occasions.Some of the most precious gifts are free.
For example, when you sit and read a book to your child, you are giving. When you offer a prayer for a friend going through a difficult time, you are giving. Even sharing a sincere compliment with your husband or child , you are giving. When you give in these ways, you are imparting life and bringing hope to others. Most importantly you are following the example of Christ who came to give of His very self that we may have life.

As the holidays are approaching, you have probably started thinking about ideas for gifts. It is amazing how stressful the season can be when it should be a time of peace,enjoyment and reflection. We pile up our schedules and spend too much money. Then we find it difficult to relax and embrace all that the holidays stand for.

I would like to help in some small way to begin getting organized for the holiday shopping and gift giving. We can make the upcoming season fun, simple and stress free. Do you think it is possible? Together we will try.

1. If you have not already made your list, now is the time. Start a small folder with pockets to put your list,sale ads, coupons, receipts and other things related to your shopping. Use a blank piece of paper to put in the front of your folder. Make 5 columns on the paper.

2. Label each column across the top.
a.column one-Names (these will be names of all those you would like to either buy a gift, send a card, or both.)
b.column two-Budget (this is the amount you can spend on each person.)
c.Column three-Items (this would be children's wish list or ideas for those on your list.
d.Column four-Cards (you will place a check by every name you would like to give cards to.)
e.column five-baked gifts (this is optional but will help keep up with amounts of baked items you would like to give.)

3. Now you are ready to write down names and to place a check within appropriate columns for those you are giving a gift, a card or both. As you purchase an item put a line through it or use some other symbol to remind you where you are in your shopping. Also, as you do your Christmas cards you can mark off names as you go.

4. Now begin to shop. Look online, in catalogues, sales brochures in the paper and other places. Place sticky notes on the add with person's name and place in your folder. You can also bookmark sites where you find a gift you may consider ordering.

5.Make a goal to shop for at least an hour a week to begin purchasing your gifts. Take your folder with you so you will have your list and ads available. This will save you stress of last minute rushing and will help you stay organized and within your budget.

6. Most of all, this is only a suggestion or idea. This works well for me as we have many children to shop for. Therefore waiting until the last minute would be disastrous for our family.

Over the next weeks, I will be sharing ideas for inexpensive gift ideas under 10 dollars and five dollars. organizing your gift wrap center, recipes, and other simple ideas to help you keep your holidays stress free.

Remember to keep things simple so you can relax and enjoy the people you love.

Morning Bagel: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Daily Hug: The words from John 3:16 should never grow stale in our hearts. Maybe you have heard the verse over and over. I know I have. I have heard it in numerous sermon and songs. I have read it in the Bible, in other books and articles. I have seen it in the sports stadiums on television. I am reminded as I am writing this that God so loves us that He gave. He simply gave the best He had. The price He paid was more costly than any price we will ever have to pay. Sometimes I find myself complaining about having to do this or that for someone else. Our precious Lord knew He would have to give His most precious treasure for our sake, but He never complained. Every time we give or are asked for help, we should be reminded of what He gave-His very heart...His most valuable treasure-Jesus.

Lord, Thank you for all You did for me when You sent Your son to walk this earth and then to suffer for my sake. You gave so willingly without reserve and without complaint. It brought You joy to give Your very best which was the life of Your life.

Thank you also for the precious people you have put in my path this week who gave of their time, their gifts and encouragement.. There is not one kind gesture that is insignificant to You. Help me to keep this in mind as the holidays are approaching. Show me creative ways to give to others. It is the least I can do after what You did for me. In Jesus Name. Amen

(Please feel free to post a comment with your ideas and suggestions for making the holidays more enjoyable and simple. click on "leave a comment" below.)

1 comment:

kblair said...

I absolutely love this blog site! I was a faithful reader of Abundant Lives and somehow missed that you had started this one. You are such a gifted writer and encourager!
I know I saw your new email somewhere in here but now I can't find it. Please email me so I will have your new address!
With much love,
Karla B