Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Giving - philanthropic gift ideas

Tis the season of giving and I'm sure many of you will be doing your holiday shopping over the next month. There are lots of deals going on and I'm sure you can find a bunch of stuff for your loved ones. If you're stumped on what to give someone who has everything, I want to present an option to you - philanthropic giving! What I mean by that is giving to a charity in the name of someone. You're essentially killing two birds with one stone because you're helping others in need and giving a gift. So here are some really great options:

1) World Vision

A little blurb on who they are -

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organizationdedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

The cool thing about World Vision is that you can buy a gift for a family in need such as a cow, a sheep, ducks, etc. Each item is listed and shows what exactly it gives to the family. You can also just make a donation for a specific cause. It's a cool way to give.

2) Oxfam

About us

Oxfam is an international confederation of 17 organizations networked together in more than 90 countries, as part of a global movement for change, to build a future free from the injustice of poverty.
We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

What we do

Find out how we work with others to end poverty and injustice, from campaigning to responding to emergencies.

Very similar to World Vision

If you want a physical present that you can unwrap and have, this is a good store to buy from. They buy everything fair trade so your supporting an artisan in another country and also getting a cool gift. If you live in Greenville, there is a location on Augusta Rd. They have locations all over, so just look online and it can tell you if there's a store near you. 

Fair Trade basically is a way to buy goods at prices that are still fair to the artist. The issue I have with stores like Wal mart is they bully farmers in countries to lower their prices to something that is unsustainable long term. The farmers have a hard time making a living because they're at the mercy of the large producer, I use Wal Mart as an example because they're one of the worst. Even if the store sells Fair Trade, I'd be surprised if it was actually Fair trade certified. So this is a way to insure that the artists are getting the money that is appropriate for what they're selling. 

International Princess Project is an organization that can best be described through their mission - 

The Mission of International Princess Project: Establish self-sustaining enterprises in partnership with indigenous organizations that provide for physical, emotional and spiritual needs of women formerly enslaved in prostitution; AND advocate for women enslaved in prostitution around the world

The pants are kind of fun and I've worn them to yoga a lot!!

5) Rwanda 

So this is something I hold near and dear to my heart (which you know if you regularly read this blog). If you want to give some money to Rwanda, whether it be the orphanages, the women in Gisenyi, wherever, let me know. I have a direct way to get them the money. 

Send me an email to and I will make sure those ladies get it. I don't have a card to give you but can send a photo for you to put in a card, like a gift certificate

Thanks so much! I hope you buy some stuff from some of these places for your friends!!! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Deserving Gifts

One lesson I've learned over the years is that I can't live with an attitude of scarcity. The first lesson I learned was in my own job. I would get so stressed by others being successful when in reality, there was enough for everyone to be successful. As I studied A Course In Miracles, it talks of scarcity and the idea that the more we operate from it, the more we have. Here is a quote - 

Quote of the Day
"Miracles shift us from a 'get' to a 'give' mentality. The desire to get something reflects a core belief that we don't have already. As long as we believe there is scarcity inside us, we'll continue to manufacture scarcity around us because that is our basic thought. No matter what we get, it will never be enough."

— Excerpted from A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

Read more:

I began to operate from a place of giving vs getting and my life changed significantly. I became more financially stable and although I was giving more, I started to receive more. Father Pat told us something when we started discussing tithing, he said that give the church $100 and see what happens. If you don't receive your money back tenfold, then he'd give you back your $100. The people that did it told him it was amazing how what he said came true. I don't feel the same call to tithe to the church as much as I feel a call to give money to people in need. 

But the idea of giving in place of scarcity is not the purpose of my post today. The purpose of my post is to whom shall I give? 

I had a couple of discussions this weekend regarding giving and who is worthy of the gift. I don't know if this is everywhere or just the US, but if you followed the election at all, you see there's an idea of giving to people who deserve it. Some people don't work hard enough to get handouts. Some people haven't earned the right of help from others. America is about earning. We've done a great job of building the American dream. If you work hard, you can earn your way into richness. Hard work is rewarded and there always seems to be an argument between people about who works the hardest. 

I've experience this own struggle within myself. There was a time in my life where I didn't feel worthy of God's grace. I didn't feel like He was going to help me because I hadn't earned it. I thought, why would God help me, I haven't done anything to earn His grace so I'm just going to be left out in the cold. I've made mistakes in my life and I haven't been what He wanted. 

The definition of grace:  unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

Unmerited is the key word. Jesus didn't hang out with all of the people that were deemed worthy of his grace and forgiveness, he hung out with the sick, the rejected. God doesn't promise grace to people that are good, in fact, he says, we don't deserve it. If my goal in life is to be as God is, to have the same qualities that He has, shouldn't I be willing to love in the way He does? 

So maybe the gift in giving is not to give to someone who deserves  it, but to give in spite of our own judgments, to give to people in need. How would the world change if we just told everyone, I love you and I'm going to help you, no matter what. What if we gave up the idea of scarcity and just realized that God performs miracles? Maybe by giving, I'm opening up a pathway for God's grace to someone else. I know that when I received God's grace in spite of deserving it, I wanted to be better. 

It's not a popular thought, but I feel the lesson I've learned is that it's not my job to judge and then give, it's my job to just take the action and allow the miracle to happen. If I have to sacrifice a little so that someone else can have a little, then so be it, but it's been my experience that when I give of myself, I've never been without.