Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Celebrating for a Cause (other than myself :)

Finally, of the gazillion birthdays we've celebrated this year, MINE came around!

I love my birthday :) Not just because I get to be the center of attention for a little while, but because I have a scheduled reason to spend time with friends! Lots of them, all at once! Or, I have some excuse to do something ridiculous in the name of my birthday. Last year, we went to Medieval Times all dressed up... that was great.

This year, however, was the big 3-0. My husband and a dear friend, Dorina (along with some faithful helpers), jumped onboard for throwing me a party. It was filled with delicious food and tons of fun games based on the Minute to Win It game show. I had never actually seen the show but it was so much fun!

As far as gifts go... we've been trying to figure out how to handle gift-givers in light of our resolution. For a couple birthdays (maybe all of them?) we asked people to give previously-loved gifts rather than buying anything new. We didn't want people to spend money on new things for us since we weren't doing it for ourselves. Besides, when their birthday comes around, they are getting something used (or handmade) from us!

Facebook Causes sent me an email about having people donate to a cause in lieu of gifts. What a great idea! So I set up a birthday wish. You can view it here: My Birthday Wish. I decided to try to raise $500 for my friends who are moving to Haiti. They have had long standing relationships and history (like, for generations) and now are wanting to go and LIVE the need they keep hearing about from their dear Haitian friends. They have been to Haiti numerous times. In fact, my family joined them on a 10 day trip to Haiti during the summer of 2009. This has given us a heart-connection with the people as well. You can visit my friends' ministry here: Christian Friendship Ministry. (At this writing, my birthday wish is just shy of its goal and you are WELCOME to help me complete it by clicking here.)

But I thought, why stop there??? I asked ALL of my friends to send gifts to my Birthday Wish instead of purchasing me a gift.

I must state here that my "love language" is gift giving. Not so much for the sake of the gift as much as for the knowledge that someone has been thinking of me. I laid that "love" aside for this Cause only to be completely taken by surprise. It has been SO neat to see people respond! I've received donations for my birthday from people who probably wouldn't even have given me a gift otherwise! I think I feel MORE loved by the response to the Birthday Wish than I ever would have from the traditional gift-giving of birthdays!

By the way, some people gave me purchased gifts as well as a sponsorship... THOSE gifts have still been wonderful! :)

Anyway, I've been so blessed by this experience that I've decided to support a cause for EVERY birthday here on out. Not only that, but my husband has been inspired to do the same. It's so exciting to see people give in my "honor." I'm hoping and praying that my children see the joy that overflows from celebrating ones birthday in this way and will thus become creative about how to celebrate their own!

In conclusion, I've known a number of people to use their birthdays to raise money for causes or to help the less fortunate. Here's a shout-out to everyone who already does that! I GET IT!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Convenience Culture Pay Off :)

I was humbled on Tuesday.

Actually, I find some humility every day.

Tuesday was different.

I had to take my older kids to school (which is unusual for me... usually my hubby takes 'em). This meant getting my older two in the car and ready to go. I had to get my two babies in the care (wake them up and feed them). I had to get my son's preschool stuff together. Throw in my guitar and Bible study book for Bible Study at 9. Oh, and the juice I had to bring for potluck.

All that to say, by the time we got to my son's little preschool... it was raining. Add to that- of all the things I could have forgotten that morning, it happened to be his backpack... complete with sweater and umbrella. Yep. Fortunately we were 1/2 an hour early. I quickly (but not too quickly :) drove to Goodwill. CLOSED. Actually, just about everything was closed at 8am. (really? When did all of the businesses decide 9am and 10am were better times to avail themselves to frantic mommies of cold children?) The only place open: Walmart.

In we went! $6 later we had a great warm sweater. We made it back to his school JUST in time for his class to start. (A couple days later I found a light rain jacket at Neighborhood Thrift. Score!)

As you know, Walmart is NOT on our list of places to buy "used" things from. However, on this day, I was reminded that our culture of convenience isn't ALL bad. It sure comes in handy in those emergencies that don't leave you much time for bargain and thrift shopping. And I still got a great deal!

I love when God restores balance to my little universe. I needed to remember that every new purchase is not a bad purchase. Not every transaction of convenience is utterly detestable or ridiculous :) It seems He certainly uses these methods to meet our needs as well as the others we are experimenting with this year! May the Lord lead and guide you as you wait on Him for your every need!