Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Gives?

My friend Elizabeth has been sending me posts by Betty for awhile now. I usually read them, smile, think 'that's awesome!' and go on my merry way. Tonight I sat with glass of wine in hand, turned off the trainwreck that is Skating with the Stars tv, and read back through some of Betty's posts. Betty is a former advertising ex whose husband is the president of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. At a crossroads in her life and with a recent inheritance in her hand, she decided to give away a $100 a day for 365 days. She has clearly done her homework and has a great blend of local, grass roots organizations and international large scale philanthropies. As a disclaimer, I wouldn't choose every organization she chose and don't agree with everything she says. But the idea?  In the words of my high school pal Amy, me loves.

And folks, that got me thinking (go ahead and fall off of your chair in surprise.) With the budget tightening, today I found myself getting creative with the term "tithe" as I took one of my young Gift of Grace buddies to lunch. I told Ross that when he saw our lunch on the card to classify it as our tithe for the month. (p.s. Betty is a member of my 2nd all time favorite place to attend Mass on the planet and gives a tweet-like blurb about it and her tithing to it here). Anywho, I realized that when I made the family budget for the holidays, everyone, including 5 month old baby who needs all of nada, got a column. The poor, the needy, yep- you guessed it, bleeding heart social worker left em' out. I feel like a word that starts with Jack and ends with ass. But thanks to my little outing with Marita today and reading over this blog, I'm getting to it. While I won't divulge how much we'll give (because it's pitiful), I did think about who would be getting the newest line in the budget after I return some the of the crap said 5 month old does not need).

And in no particular order~

Obviously these folks, the Missionaries of Charity. They live in my 1st most favorite place to worship and love my daughter like their own (and clearly embarrass and aggravate her as their own too). But more than that, they care for women dying of HIV/AIDS. Their love, compassion, and commitment to prayer and service is unmatched as far as I have ever seen.

Next, I am going to dig out the card I threw in the recycle bin from the humane society of cobb county. I am not an animal lover. But I gave my child a name that honors St. Francis of Assisi and my little sister is an avid animal lover whose first inclinations toward service were toward 4 legged creatures. Per my mom's request, I ensured that this is a "no-kill" shelter and will consider this my gift to the Monster (since as a bad animal mother, there are no bones under the tree for him).

My next meager check goes to Operation Hungry Child. This is a fab grass roots organization started by friends from Savannah. They use one of my most favorite hobbies, reading, to help my most favorite people, lil' babes. This is also special to me because my child is clearly in a month long growth spurt and is alwaaaaays wanting to eat. While I am most happy to oblige her, I ache thinking of the kids whose cries for hunger go unheeded.

This next one is kind of already accounted for but is something Ross and I are excited about. For years, students of many faith traditions have had awesome ministries to nurture and grow them during college. Young Life, Campus Crusade For Christ, Hillel, and others have given college students a place to worship and pray, hang out and play.  While I wouldn't ever trade what I gained from those ministries in college, I am pumped to say that the Catholics are jumping on board! Fellowship of Catholic University Students has been around for a few years but is really taking off and we are so excited to attend their conference this year to learn more about how to support the great work they are doing. This guy below has brought FOCUS to Georgia for the 1st time and tons of Georgia Southern students are blessed because of Him. (photo posted without permission :)

And lastly, because my husband is running out of money, I am giving money to my friend Audrey. I met Audrey when I worked at the Department of Family and Children Services in Athens. My job was to investigate child abuse and, in the worst cases, remove children from their homes, leaving them in a foster home. This was heart-wrenching in every case and made more awful by knowing that this happened to my own mom time and again. Audrey was a foster care worker whose job it was to ensure those kids were safe in the foster homes and to work for permanent families, either their own (ideally) rehabiliated or adoptive homes. Long after I ran like hell left that job, she is still there, still working her crazy butt off. And since I am not comfortable sending a random check to the state office, I am officially giving Audrey an I.O.U. for a check to go toward some project or need Athens' foster kids may have. I trust her not to buy wine with it.

So, I guess that's as good a Christmas post as you're gonna get. I love to hear about organizations or causes that folks love so if you feel so inclined, tell me where you'd send your check if you knew how to forge your husband's signature on his checkbook like I do :)

Merry Christmas !

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