“We have to go into the despair and go beyond it, by working and doing for somebody else, by using it for something else.”
― Elie Wiesel
More this year than any before has the two words “I want” been used. In the stores, I watch parents field those words repeatedly from their children. Growing up, I can’t recall using those two words often, yet lately, they’re all I hear around me.
Christmas will never be the season for receiving for me. It will always be a season for giving. What so many fail to realize is GIVING IS RECEIVING.
We all have a purpose in this world, but no one’s purpose revolves around receiving. We were put here to have impact, to create change, to leave footprints; we’re here to do more than we see, to give more than we receive, to influence more than we’re influenced.
“I want you to understand that your first duty is to humanity. I want others to look at us and see that we care not just about ourselves but about others.”
― Madam C.J. Walker
I know there are people who will read this that are not religious or merely believe differently than I, and I apologize if I offend you, as this reflects my personal beliefs.
When I was younger, I never could decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. One day I planned to be a teacher, the next a lawyer, a week later I was checking out requirements to own a non-profit organization. I was all over the place. The one common thread was that I wanted to do something that allowed me to give back.
“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way.”
― Mary Anne Radmacher
It was about three years ago that I became serious about creating the change I wanted to see in the world I live in. Coincidentally, it was also the year that I began focusing on writing. I didn’t quite understand then how God would use a career in writing to make a difference though.
It started with the Vamp Chronicles. Anyone who has read the series knows that I cover quite a few hot topics, social, political and personal issues, for a young adult series. It was the series that opened the door for me though. Those books taught me the power words carry. I’ve received more e-mails and messages relaying how those books impacted readers than any other. It is truly a humbling experience to know that you’ve been able to leave a footprint on the lives of those you’ve never met.
But it didn’t stop there.
My dream has always been to volunteer in Africa, do something to help HIV/AIDS victims there. I wasn’t prepared for the cost to volunteer in a foreign country though.
I was forced to take a step back and re-evaluate my dream. In doing so, I realized I could have a greater impact at home, in my own community.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens
While I’m a Christian, I do believe in Karma, appreciate Buddhist Proverbs, love Wiccan’s spiritual kinship to nature and recognize certain Islamic laws that mirror the Bible’s book of Romans. If we were to look at religions around the world, they have far more similarities than many would like to admit. Many common threads between them surround their definition of love, of respect and kindness, but beyond that, their emphasis on giving to receive.
In the Bible, God has asked us to give ten percent of our earnings as a tithe to our church. The problem that I have with that is so often that money is misdirected, is eaten by the wants in the world rather than the needs. Rather than tithe to church, I have steadily relied on God, on friends and family, and most recently, on 2hands.org to lead me to those in need.
“Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
― Steve Maraboli
This has been a year of growth for me, personally, spiritually, emotionally, and, the greatest, financially. This is the year that I finally understood God’s purpose for me at the ground level. I’ve been blessed with the ability to not only do something that I love, a career that allows me to be a teacher one day and a lawyer the next if I want, but also to recognize my dream of having a greater impact in the lives of others beyond my words.
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
― Winston S. Churchill
And all of that would not be possible without each and every one of you!
Whether you realized it or not, in purchasing one of my books this year, you have been giving back to someone in need every single month of 2012.
There is a big difference between want and need. I’m not rich. I don’t live a lavish lifestyle. I don’t own a designer handbag. I have three children yet live in a three-bedroom house. My “office” is the master bedroom’s closet. I drive an older car, own one pair of jeans, and survive off coupons and the clearance rack.
“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
― Ben Carson
This is a lifestyle I learned in my own struggle years ago. There have been times when I didn’t know how the light bill was going to get paid. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for a new pair of shoes for one of my kids or buy school supplies for them. I’ve been through the tough times that so many are facing right now. Having been there has helped me recognize that if I maintain the lifestyle of have, as my income (hopefully) continues to increase, so can my efforts. The more I make, as long as my lifestyle remains the same, the more I can give back.
“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.”
― Mother Teresa
I didn’t realize just how much I could give back until this Christmas season. Through friends and 2hands.org, I have been blessed with the privilege of meeting and helping so many families in need this season…but there are so many more.
There are so many who would be grateful for one gift for their child that costs the same as that fancy cup of coffee so many of us purchase.
There are so many with children who need shoes and clothes more than the newest iPod nano selling out in stores.
There are so many who will be waking up on Christmas with no electricity, with no shelter, with no food.
This season, in the season of giving, I’m asking you to reach out.
We have approximately eight days left until Christmas. That means we have eight days left to change a child’s Christmas, to impact a family’s enjoyment of the holiday. We have eight days to replace tears at an empty tree with smiles at something peaking from beneath. We have the power to change the life of another every day.
“Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.”
― Steve Maraboli
There is a song by Luminate that I have been listening to on repeat as I write lately: This Is Love. The chorus has really hit home for me…
‘Cause this is love, keeping me awake tonight
This is love, I can’t free you from my mind
‘Cause I’ve never felt a part
Of something greater than myself
I’m waking up
‘Cause this is love
I read so many stories this season, stories that stuck with me. I’ve gone to sleep wishing I could do more than I have. This entire year came together for me this Christmas season; the experience summed up my year and helped me realize my dream for next year: to double my efforts every single month.
Writing is just my means. Giving is my purpose.
“God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.”
― Randy Alcorn
I’ve never felt a part of something greater than myself until this year.
Seeing a parent’s face light up when you deliver a car of gifts and supplies is unforgettable.
Waking up on Christmas morning and watching as your children open their gifts is heartwarming; knowing that you made it possible for another mother to do the same is priceless.
I won’t miss that cup of coffee, but a child will miss the absence of a gift beneath the tree while many more are missing the tree itself.
I’m not telling you what to do, how to live your life. I’m sharing my story, my experience, my beliefs. This is the life I’ve chosen to live, and I know it’s not for everyone. I do know that greediness has never delivered eternal happiness to anyone though.
Those of you who are open, who are able and willing, I invite you to please visit 2hands.org. One visit to their forum will, at the least, help you appreciate all you have, and, at the most, connect you with a family who will never forget you, connect you with a family you’re likely to never forget either.
Thank you once again to everyone who has purchased one of my books in 2012. I look forward to releasing many more books in 2013 and helping many more families.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.
“Giving of any kind… taking an action… begins the process of change, and moves us to remember that we are part of a much greater universe.”
― Mbali Creazzo
12 thoughts on “Give A Little”
Wow! Christin such amazing words of encouragement to help the less fortunate!! You have a heart of gold, I’m proud to be a fan of your series!!
Reading this i actually started to cry because today i was given the best Christmas gift ever i was giving the ability to buy gifts for my loved ones. I’ve had it rough and i told my family that i couldn’t do Christmas this year. i had to many bills to pay i rather eat than by a gift card for someone. well today i was crying to my grandmother and just ranting about not being able to even get my own mother a gift this year let alone buy the much needed boots and jeans i need to stay warm this winter. well she looked me right in the eyes and told me to get to work. see i clean her house for her. when i got done cleaning she handed me what i thought was my normal 20 dollar check for cleaning when i looked it was 500 not 20 i looked at her and said no i cant its to much she just told me to get my mom something nice and she wont take it back. i started to cry right there. i can now buy the much needed boots and jeans i need get my mom that new bag she needs for her work laptop and buy my love of life his tool set that got stolen a few months ago when his car was stolen. I am so blessed to have her. And yes the little things people do can change someones life like my grandma did to me. Also it made think about what i could do for others i work for an old lady with no family who has spent the last 20 years alone on Christmas and i invited her to come spend it with me i even bought her a little gift.
All in all i just wanted to say that when someone goes out of there way to help someone it really dose mean the world.
Merry Christmas Everyone
Your grandmother is truly an angel. I’m so glad that you have her in your life and that she was able and willing to help you. Life isn’t always easy, but thankfully there are people like your grandmother that help us along the way. I’m delighted that it will truly be a Merry Christmas for you, your mom, and now the lady you work with as well 🙂
That is a great website! I never knew it existed, but now I will have to spread the word. As I’ve gotten older, I have discovered the importance of helping others. Luckily I work for a great company that also feels this way, so I get to also go out and volunteer/give back with them 🙂
That’s awesome! 🙂
From the heart of this Grandmother, Very well said Christin! I wish you and yours a very Blessed Christmas, a safe,prosperous, and healthy New Year! Keep up the good works as your rewards will await you. Can’t wait to hear more of the Vampeen crowd. 🙂
I can’t wait to get the next Vampeen book out there. I’m really excited about this one 🙂
Truly touching words!! And I really love that song 🙂 Merry CHRISTmas, Christin!!
So do I 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours!
My dad is a police officer for the town that I live in. Every year they host an event at Target or Walmart called Shop with a Cop. I am so surprised at how many kids don’t want to get thereselves something but rather want to get their sisters or brother or parents something. Some of them also don’t buy toys or anything fun like that because they need to get socks or shoes or even clothes. I enjoy going out every year to help the police give these kids the best Christmas ever!
ive heard of this and ive seen it on the news a few times im always in aww off the people who help out like that.
They just recently had this in my local Wal-mart. It was a site to behold. There were police cars lining the front of the store, motorcycles off to the side. Inside, they lined the children up and took photos with them and the gifts they’d chosen. It was awe-inspiring to say the least. Truly heartwarming.