Monday, February 19, 2018

The Treasure of Generosity


     For the third time in four weeks, I heard the word, or read it in print. Generosity. When that happens, I know I should pay close attention.
We hear about generous givers such as wealthy benefactors to institutions or charitable organizations. The Bible speaks about being a cheerful giver and a sacrificial giver.   

     Paul wrote to the Corinthians and described the Macedonians, 
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.(2 Corinthians 8:1-5 ESV)
 
     We often associate generosity with finances but it shows up in other ways. We know the story of a young boy who offered and shared his lunch- five loaves and two fish. Jesus used it to feed 5,000. (John 6: 1-14) Generosity invests and multiplies.
 
     Last week, I waited in a car line at Costco. Fifteen cars passed me by before one motioned to let me turn. Sometimes, simple gestures are generous ones.


We can be generous in listening to someone who has a heavy heart or who is bursting to tell us about something special in her life. 
     We can be generous by praying for another.
     We can be generous by speaking encouraging words. 
     We can be generous in giving time, especially when it’s inconvenient or to do  something out of our comfort zone.

Generosity is more than money. It’s personal. Paul commended the Macedonians because they gave themselves. Generosity costs. But when I spend, I invest, and it spreads and multiplies.
 
How can you be purposefully generous this week? Time, prayer, listening, a simple kindness, speaking?

Let us know. Perhaps your comment will inspire another to do the same, and your investment will spread and multiply to people you don't even know.




.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Valentine’s Day: Sweet Experiences that Last



  
   Sweets, sharing, and self-care are the three categories where consumers will drive the expected $19 billion in sales for Valentine’s Day. Yes, you read that right. According to the National Retail Federation, sales’ projections of $19 billion are up from last year’s $18.2 billion.

     We’ve come a long way from the homemade Valentine’s boxes in grade school where children exchanged valentines and Moms had candy hearts waiting for their children at home. Floral bouquets, sweets, fancy restaurants, jewelry, gifts for pets, and spa appointments are among today’s top gifts.

   Also included are gifts of experiences, such as tickets to movies, sporting events, and concerts.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Guest Post Erin Odom Telling Our Stories

Today I'm delighted to welcome Erin Odom as my guest. I knew Erin when my husband Randy and I lived in Charlotte. Randy is a significant part of Erin and Wil's financial and family story so it has been a special joy seeing God work in their family. They are an amazing example of finding extraordinary treasures in challenging days. This post first appeared on MOPS.org
http://blog.mops.org/on-telling-the-stories-were-too-afraid-to-share-and-how-it-can-deepen-friendships-and-hope/  and is reposted with Erin's permission. You can read more about Erin at the end of the article.


On Telling the Stories We’re Too Afraid to Share (And How It Can Deepen Friendships- and Hope)

Erin Odom honestly

We met in church nursery – or at least that’s where we reconnected after a nearly two-decade hiatus. Eliza* and I had known each other as acquaintances in childhood, but when our family moved back to my hometown when I was nearing 30, Eliza and I recognized each other and struck up a real friendship. Our firstborn daughters, the only children both of us had at the time, were born just a day apart. The four of us began meeting several times per week for playdates. Eliza and her toddler would pick up me and mine, as we didn’t own a car at the time.
Eliza and I chatted about our birth stories, childhood nutrition, and the day-to-day struggles of motherhood. Breastfeeding? Of course. Potty training? Fair game. Our dire financial situation at the time? Absolutely not.
I never once told Eliza that our family was barely making ends meet – that our calendar held more month than money, that we didn’t know if we could even stretch the food in our fridge and our pantry to last through the next pay day. It wasn’t until we were beginning to exit our low-income season that I finally mustered up enough courage to share what we had been through with her.
To my complete surprise, she told me her family had struggled in a similar situation. But she, too, had not wanted to tell me. “Good” girls in the South didn’t use government aid, I had told myself, and if they did, they most surely didn’t tell others about it. So I had kept this secret to myself, and I had felt completely alone.
Years have passed, and now I realize that sharing our struggles is one of the ways we can find true camaraderie with other moms. And in sharing our stories, we can evoke empathy for those who might be experiencing the same as we are – even from those who may not be able to relate otherwise.
When I look back at our season of low-income living, I’m thankful for all God taught me – to trust Him for our daily bread, to cultivate contentment in both plenty and in want, and to practice gratitude for every single blessing. But one thing I regret is that I didn’t share my struggle with my best friend, and that keeping my trials quiet led Eliza not to share hers as well.
What about you, friend? Are you struggling with a burden right now? Is your family facing financial frustration, and you see no way out? Is your marriage stuck in neutral? Do your children fight more than get along? Do you feel alone?
My encouragement for you today is to find one friend – just one! – and share what you are going through. You might be surprised to discover that you are not alone, dear mama. There are others who can relate to this trial of yours, but holding it inside will only keep you from deepening those friendships that might prove a balm to your soul during a desperate time.
*Names have been changed in this article to protect my friend’s privacy.
This article was originally published in More Than Just Making It.


Erin Odom is the author of the new book More Than Just Making It and the founder of The Humbled Homemaker, a blog dedicated to grace-filled living designed to equip and encourage mothers in the trenches. Her Southern charm and wealth of inspirational, practical content has drawn an audience of millions over the years. Erin and her husband, Will, live in the South where they raise their four children. Follow Erin at thehumbledhomemaker.com. Erin's second book, a companion to the first and a book of short money-saving tips, will be released soon. It can be found at  https://www.amazon.com/You-Stay-Home-Your-Kids/dp/0310 083567



Featured Post

The Treasure of Generosity

     For the third time in four weeks, I heard the word, or read it in print. Generosity. When that happens, I know I should pay close a...