I know it has been quite some time since I have written a blog post entry. Sometimes life has a way of flying by and you can't quite catch up until you realize that it's been 8 months since your last post. So, at this point, I guess I need to say Happy New Year! I hope the beginning of 2019 has been everything that you hoped it would be and more. I know for me, it has definitely been a whirlwind.
I have a million things on my mind that I would like to write about. I know I will get to all of them one day, but right now, all I can think about in my life is the concept of giving.
In recent years, I've found a new love of giving back. I've always volunteered when I could or given back when given the opportunity, but it wasn't until more recently when I realized the importance of truly giving, out of the pure goodness of your heart, to help others.
When I think about my life on a daily basis, I feel stressed and at times, very overwhelmed. It's like I've taken on so many things that I love because I want to accomplish so many things, but my list grows longer than the amount of time I have in my day to start crossing things off. Upon feeling stressed, I start to feel discouraged or disheartened. Why am I working so hard, but at the same time not able to splurge on things that I see all of my friends being able to splurge on? I start to feel like life isn't fair. I may even feel envious towards someone who isn't working as hard, but is seeing more results. But who am I to decide how hard someone else is working or what they are going through?
I ultimately feel that way until I am grounded by a situation that reminds me that I am in no position to feel like my life isn't fair. Example? Someone close to me who just lost a family member due to illness. Someone's house that has burned down and there is nothing left. Someone asking for money outside of the local grocery store due to their current life circumstances. And a million more examples.
These situations are what remind me that I am so blessed. In fact, I am spoiled. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, multiple jobs that keep a steady income, an incredibly supportive family, as well as friends, and numerous passion projects that keep my mind busy trying to figure out which move to make next. Who am I to feel like I deserve more? There is no room in my life for complaints, but yet for so long I felt like I wanted or needed more and I kept asking God to open my eyes to what that might be.
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7
I once heard a pastor talk about giving and he said, "Who are we to not give what we have received? It wasn't ours to begin with... so why not share it with someone who needs it more?" That was an interesting concept for me. The image of the money I had in my pocket not actually being mine, but it being someone else's or even God's to use, made me lose all attachment to it's monetary value. The $5 coffee that I would buy every morning? It didn't taste the same. The extra $30 a month I spent on having more cable channels? It made me not want to watch it. The $20 ticket to see a movie in a reclining chair and IMAX (yes, $20. Thanks LA)? I'd rather wait a few months to watch it in the comfort of my own home for a $1 RedBox.
All of these little savings I made could then be used for someone or something that needs it more than I do. Whether it be a charity, your church, or even a friend who is going through a tough time. Am I saying I never treat myself to a nice coffee or movie? No. But I am saying that I became more conscious on what I was spending my money on, so that my eyes could be opened to somewhere better to spend it.
So... what did I decide?
A few years ago, I was asked to volunteer for an organization called Miss Amazing. I had heard about it for many years, but I had never had an opportunity to get involved and this was my chance. That week working with Miss Amazing changed my life. From that point forward, I never viewed my life or the life other others the same. It all had a different meaning.
To give you some back story, Miss Amazing's mission is to provide opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build self confidence in a supportive environment. These girls and women are strong, intelligent, and are accomplishing big dreams of changing the world one day. I know the mission says the organization is to help them build self-confidence, but ultimately, these women help me build not only self-confidence, but also self-worth. They've taught me more in the few years I've worked with them than some people have in my entire life.
Fast forward a few years and now I have the privilege of being the chapter director for California Miss Amazing. This experience has expanded my idea of "giving" to a new level of understanding.
You see, my whole life I've heard people use the expression, "Just $1 will make a difference." I'm sure I'm not the only one who heard that and thought they were crazy. What could $1 really do?
Well... let me tell you. $1 given by 15 people gives CA Miss Amazing $15. $15 is roughly what it costs to get one participant through our program, including food, t-shirts, and basic needs for our event.
When I look at my social media accounts, I have nearly 20,000+ people combined. So what would happen if each person gave $1? We would have raised enough money to host California Miss Amazing for nearly 2 years.
But let's put Miss Amazing aside and ask yourself, when you've been reading this article, who or what was on your mind? Was it your church that you haven't been giving to recently? Is it a charity group that you've watched from afar but never gotten involved in? Or was it a friend or family member that you know is struggling, but may not want to ask for help?
If you considered giving $1, or maybe even $5 or $20, YOU are becoming the difference. YOU are showing the rest of the world how important it is to give.
As a society, we have become so money hungry, so dependent on making sure our bank account has enough funds to buy items that allow us to show society that we have reached their standards of "success", instead of giving back to society what our successes have blessed us with.
In my opinion, the greatest success stories will be the ones of those who made millions, and gave millions. After all, who are we to not give what we have received, when it wasn't our to begin with?
This is why I have decided to start the $1 Giving Challenge. I have started a $1 Giving Challenge Fundraiser specifically for California Miss Amazing, should you choose to donate your $1 to us. But if you would rather choose an organization closest to you, comment the organization below! We would love to take a look and share the word about more organizations who are giving back and changing lives.
Click here to donate your $1 to California Miss Amazing through Facebook OR Click Here to donate through our official fundraising site.
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"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." -Winston Churchill