Hello all! I want to wish you a Merry Christmas full of warm love, bright joy, and the celebration of God’s most precious miracle. The lead up to the holidays has been keeping me so busy that I’ve hardly had time to keep up with writing! This season must be keeping you all so busy, as well! There are so many festivities ahead! I hope you have found peace during this busy time and been able to keep up with the tasks rather than feel drowned by them. Since I have a few plans coming up, I will be taking taking a little break from writing here until January. It has been such a gift to connect with you this year and begin sharing our journeys together. I feel truly blessed to have gotten to know you all more deeply and connect with you in the midst of our struggles. Thank you for being a part of this blog. I am looking forward to posting more here in the upcoming year! Have a beautiful season, dear ones. God bless.
In the spirit of the season of miracles, I think one of the most precious little miracles of all is gratitude. Gratitude certainly changes our perspective, and in the sweetest of ways. Oh, what a breath of fresh air and warm embrace of peace. Gratitude is something I pray we’ll carry with us in our hearts. Something I’ve noticed about gratitude is that the more thankful we are, the more willing we are to give and share freely. There is such freedom to knowing we are cared for! It can be difficult to find ways to volunteer and donate in the midst of severe illness, so I thought I’d share a collection of ten small ways to do so. Like Mother Teresa said, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.” It’s the small things that make a difference. It’s the small things that whisper hope and joy to aching hearts and lonely days. It’s the small things that build in us a greater compassion, love, and generosity. Let’s live in this today.
- Each day, you can support charitable efforts towards hunger, breast cancer, animals, veterans, autism, diabetes, literacy, and the rainforest by clicking the free donation buttons on the Greater Good website! Each time someone clicks, sponsors fund these causes. You can also shop at this site, and each purchase directly funds the cause of your choice (for example, the purchase of one item can fund 25 cups of food). You can visit their website by clicking here.
- Freekibble is another great free-donation resource. Each day, they post two questions, one about dogs (at Freekibble) and one about cats (at Freekibblekat). For every person that answers, 10 pieces of kibble are donated (So if you answer both, 20 pieces are donated!)
- You can help remind our troops we care by giving them a gift subscription of Guideposts Magazine for $10. Guideposts is filled with inspirational, heartwarming stories 🙂
- You can make blankets for local animal shelters or All Girl’s Allowed Baby Blanket Ministry. Some time ago, a girl in one of the chronic illness support groups I’m in created a post about ways to make a difference while sick, and she shared such a sweet idea. She would knit blankets for the beds at local animal shelters. I came across a program for a charity called All Girl’s Allowed that allows volunteers to make and donate blankets to their Baby Shower program. You can click the link above to find out more!
- Saeed Abedini is an American pastor who is serving an 8 year sentence in one of Iran’s more brutal prisons for sharing his faith. You can join the international community as they petition his release by signing this petition (here) and follow updates from the ACLJ (here). But one of the the most precious and valuable things to this family is your prayers for him, his family, and the persecuted church during this time.
- On the note of the persecuted church, you can purchase 5 New Testament Bibles for $25 through the organization Open Doors for people in the most persecuted and high guarded countries.
- Boycott Uggs (and Ugg alternatives). One of my cousins shared a link of Facebook not too long ago about the truth behind Ugg boots. The article explained how inhumane this company is towards sheep, and how while many people mean well by buying knock-off boots, those companies are also inhumanely harvesting other furs. Peta advocates this cause, but if you choose to look into it, I truly and deeply recommend just reading articles and not upsetting yourself by watching videos. You can understand the issue quite well without graphic evidence of the abuse. For this small way to make a big difference, replace fur or leather boots with cruelty-free options.
- Use items that aren’t tested on animals. Peta’s Beauty Without Bunnies and Leaping Bunny’s Compassionate Shopping Guide are two great resources to use to find companies that don’t test their products on animals.
- Shop fair-trade and items made in your home country. I made a list of Fair-Trade and American-made gifts that you can view here. There are plenty more great places to shop! One of my favorite places to shop is Etsy, a host for handmade shops.
- Above all, the greatest way to make a difference is to give our hearts to Christ. The greatest way to share is to allow Him to grow His love, peace, and grace in our hearts in a way that entirely awakens our souls to the beauty of life in Him. It’s through Him that we are moved to love and service. It’s in Him our hope is found. Commit your heart to His love and He will love through you in the most miraculous, exciting, refreshing, brilliantly beautiful way. It’s a joy that cannot be explained, not this side of Heaven anyway 🙂
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,you were doing it to me!’ ~Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)