Taking Inventory

We’re excited to have Laurie Maddex of Welcome to the Mad House guest blogging for us today on giving back which fits with our goals for Always Happy Life. Her personal blog is awesome, so make sure you check out their regular adventures as well. Hopefully we can talk her into blogging for us more in the future!!! So without further adieu…here it is:

august end 028We had quite the eye opening experience at our church yesterday; a statistic that said that 40% of the population of Uganda had no access to clean water. 40 percent. 29,000 children die from diseases linked to unsafe water every year. Wow. How is that possible, when I am here, in my home, with water, power, air conditioning and healthy kids?

And I have the audacity to complain when my kids won’t nap or when I gain 5 pounds. Reality check, right?

Oy. It really made me stop to take inventory of my life…to think about what I have and what I could give away.

So, my goal from now forward is two fold (and I invite you to join me in accomplishing it!):

1- To realize what I have and enjoy it. Everything. From the smiles on my kids faces to the smell of fresh cut grass (even though I am sweaty and covered in clippings), from the beautiful clear blue skies and perfect playtime weather to the overcast, dreary days that give my garden life.

There should be appreciation in everything. Yeah, my youngest just dumped his ENTIRE plate of syrup covered pancakes onto the clean floor…but I have a friend who lost her baby last year and would give anything to clean up his sticky mess today. Anything.

My days are filled with daycare kids and carpools and homework…and my husband comes home late from work because he is SWAMPED there…but we both have jobs. And there are many many people who wish they had too much work to do.

Everything is a blessing.

And 2- To give back. Sure our budget is tight. And we are paying off student loans, medical bills, and stupid spending on credit cards. But we have SO much. It doesn’t take that much to be able to give back somehow. It could be a small gesture (a case of water delivered to the homeless shelter whose roof caved in 2 weeks ago in Charlotte) or a big one (participating in a home makeover for 4 single moms at Jackson Park Ministries).

There are opportunities to give back everywhere, and true to the lyrics of Avenue Q, when you help others, you can’t help helping yourself. Giving feels good. It does.

So find something. Anything. Start small, call around. See who could use you. Perhaps you could give an hour of your lunch break up once a week to sit and read with a child at a struggling school. Or maybe you could serve a meal at a homeless shelter, volunteer with your local ASPCA, or provide a meal for a family going through a tough time. There are limitless possibilities- just jump right in.

Here are more places you can go for ideas on giving back:

1) What Gives 365

2) A Year of Living Charitably: A blog documenting 365 good deeds.

3) Turn on the Tap: Samaritan’s Purse answers to the need for clean water worldwide.

I’m off to enjoy more little pleasures; there are cheap popsicles to be had on the back patio and silly kids antics to appreciate!

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