This year I find myself in quite the different holiday mood. I have several friends that I have always enjoyed the sharing of Christmas gifts with. We don’t spend a lot of money but we do try to find the “right” something for each other. We top off our little celebration with the “breaking of bread” as we share a lunch or dinner to catch up and enjoy the holiday lights and music. It makes for a really pleasant spreading out of the holiday and is probably a part of your routine Christmas as well.
And yet, this year, something feels to be different. My soul’s yearning to make a bigger impact in the world is growing. And the only thing I can think of is that I feel I have too much this year. I certainly have all that I need and I have enough of the “I wants” to satisfy my heart. So this year I’m shifting out of the usual mode of the gift giving tradition with my friends. I’m still sharing the gift of time but I’m asking them to forgo the shopping for some nice little gift that I don’t actually need and I’d like them to make a donation to the poor as their gift to me instead. I want to play a little part, even if it’s just a catalyst part, in helping us all help someone in need. And the beautiful thing I’m finding is, that at my suggestion for my gift they are delighted to not shop for a trinket and to also not receive one. They are asking me to do the same thing on their behalf. I love my friends – they see the best and brightest intentions and they magnify them. I am blessed.
So, to all my internet friends, in addition to any regular charitable giving this year that you are inclined to give, I ask that you consider joining us to exchange a different kind a gift. A gift of generosity. A gift that can change a moment in someone’s world. Give the gift of charity, request the gift of charity, and be blessed.
Today I heard about a totally cool idea and have decided to jump in with both feet. A fellow blogger that I follow, Beth Ann shared this with me. Check out her blog “It’s Just Life”. She’s been doing this for many months and feels the gratitude of her giving. I can’t help but catch the idea and carry it on.
So here’s how it works – the first day of each month I will pick a charity or cause and write about it here on my blog. At the end of the month I’ll count up all the legitimate comments I receive on that one blog and donate 50 cents per comment. I’m a day late to start but promise not to be a dollar short. 🙂
DECEMBER 2012 CHARITY is: HEARTPRINTS
Heartprints is a wonderful, fledgling charity started by my friend Brian Siegel here in Cincinnati. I met Brian a couple of years ago by accidental connection. Well, I don’t believe in coincidences but I do believe in God and I know this chance meeting was at His hand! Brian had a vision to eradicate poverty of education. And as a pioneer always does, he put his money and actions where his mouth (and heart and dreams) is. He started this charity as a way to change lives of poor children – with a 3 pronged approach – tutoring, charitable giving, and job assistance. After our connection Brian asked me to be on the Board of Directors. I did that willingly and with all my heart. I loved being a part of the early days. And while my schedule doesn’t allow me to be as involved as my heart wants to be, I certainly can spread the word.
Heartprints is growing and evolving and I’m proud that he is bringing his dream to life. Check out the website, and donate your time, talent, or treasure if you so feel called. www.heartprints.org
And in the meantime, don’t forget to leave your comments here on the blog so I can give the maximum donation with your help. Every comment counts so rack ’em up folks and help me, help my cause.
“What you grow in the good times becomes your strength in the hard times.
Therefore, let us grow and let us share love, peace, charity, forgiveness, generosity, and hope.”
~ Barbara Bernard Miller
I posted this quote on my bulletin board at work today. There are so many people who are seeing the hard times coming or already swirling around their lives right now. I wanted to remind us all that we have some control over our situation. Perhaps not in what happens but certainly in what we put in our lives to prepare us to react to and cope with those situations.
And when I stand in good times and others do not, I hope I am conscious enough, aware enough, and courageous enough to step out of my joy to lend them a hand, a shoulder, a word of encouragement, or even a dollar or two – whatever I have that can ease the trouble. It’s so easy to forget sometimes that we aren’t alone, especially in the tough times. But the worst thing we can do is forget that we aren’t alone in the good times. That is when we can really make a difference.
If you know me or know my book, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God, you know that I am powerfully moved by God’s message of love, hope and encouragement for us. God’s desire for us to use our gifts and talents to change the world has inspired me to introduce you to a man and an organization that you likely haven’t heard about but which has come to capture my heart.
Have you ever met someone for a brief time and just simply and awesomely been inspired? That has happened to me recently when I met Brian Siegel, founder of Heartprints. His story is compelling as he has come through true hardship as his family went through transitions. He was raised with his sister by a single mother who was a social worker. He knew the art and power of giving through her example. She also taught him faith and perseverence. In the midst of his growing years he was also the recipient of community help when the family was without a home and needed to humbly ask for assistance. In spite of the hardships and the humilities that he passed through, Brian is a winner. He worked hard in school and in sports and was able to rise up from his meager beginnings and earn a scholarship to get his college degree from the University of Cincinnati and his masters from Xavier University here in Cincinnati.
He has never forgotten his childhood or his mother’s teachings. He has been a giver and a volunteer for so long that it is part of his very nature and being. Now, in spite of the fate of our times and being layed off from work himself, he works tirelessly to grow and develop his own charitable work. He is the founder of Heartprints, which truly is the handiwork of his passion. He is involved locally in mentoring, outreach and job search assistance. He has made connections worldwide so that his giving nature can impact people around the globe. His start-up 501(c)(3) non-profit initiative is growing and expanding. Every time I speak with him I am renewed in my belief that his heart and his mission will indeed impact countless lives.
I’m honored to have crossed paths with this soft-spoken, generous human being. I’m proud to say that I want and will help support his efforts. I am delighted to volunteer my time, talent, and treaure to support his efforts both here at home and around the world.
I invite you to find out more about Brian, his mission and his organization. I pray that you also will be inspired and will be drawn to help this man make a difference in our world.