I would say that I'm a good person. I've lived my life being kind to strangers, helpful to friends and family, dedicated to my coworkers and bosses....but when I look at things closely, I've really just been doing the minimum. It wasn't on purpose, but really, what do I do to make a difference? I've done a lot of thinking over the past couple of months, and decided there are a lot of things I could change in my life. I started recycling at our house, and I was quickly amazed at how much I was able to put into the bin. It honestly made me feel really bad about all the time before that I hadn't been recycling. Seriously, we fill that bin up faster than we do our regular trash can, and that's crazy.
I started working on our tax return last month and accumulating all our charitable contribution receipts. I was seriously disappointed. I had one of those moments where I was like, "That's all we gave?" Not an ounce of me was upset with the total from a tax return standpoint, just a selfishness standpoint. I felt like we really dropped the ball. I can't think of a donation request (Komen, St. Jude, MS, etc) that we ignore, but those don't come every month. So if I don't actively seek things out, we just contribute to the ones that ask us. Jeremiah and I are incredibly fortunate for our age, and we should be sharing as much as possible with those that aren't as fortunate. I started looking back through our monthly expenses, and we do spend a lot on other people, but unfortunately it's probably not the right people or things. We buy nice gifts for our family members and friends, take people out to lunch and dinner, entertain guests, etc, etc. Jeremiah and I love being generous and making sure everyone's able to share in the fun, but we should also be doing that for people who really need it.
Kind of along the same lines as what a friend Terry is doing, I've decided to be more proactive in my giving. I'm not going to wait around for a letter or email from an organization asking for money. Each month I'm going to seek out an organization to contribute to in some way. It may be money, or time, or clothes, or whatever, and it'll be one that I've specifically chosen. For January, I selected the Genesis Women's Shelter. I contacted them to find out what they needed the most at the present time, and went to Walmart and loaded up on those items. I also went through my closets and found 32 items of clothing I didn't need. It was really nice to actually drive to their location and drop those things off, as opposed to just filling out a donation form online and submitting. It's not like they wouldn't have appreciated the money, but for me I wanted to show an effort. I wanted to take time out of my day to do something for someone else. I haven't picked a place for February yet, but I am open to suggestions!