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The Giving Season

Ways we can give back this holiday season

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My mom came across this amazing quote on Oprah Magazine’s Instagram account (she had “regram-ed” it from @fredandfar), “I thought 2020 would be the year I got everything I wanted. Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have.” And thankfully she shared it with me. She is very kind.

I sat with this quote for a bit and am still sitting with it. It really resonates with me. I can also totally relate. I had these grand plans for this year: multi-city book tour, family vacation to the Bahamas, seeing my wedding day weight on the scale, my oldest starting Kindergarten in his elementary school, and the list goes on. And when I realized that all of these wants were not necessarily going to happen (I know the whole wedding weight thing is completely in my control, but stress eating often gets the best of me), it was devastating.

Looking back over this year, however, @fredandfar’s quote comes into play. The appreciation for the luxuries I already have. Going back to those basics I previously wrote about, a home, food, my health, my family’s health, love, warm clothes, a car, access to healthcare, and once again, the list goes on. And I find that this list of haves far exceeds the list of wants. If 2020 has given me anything, it is the gift of time to arrive at these realizations.

The flip side: there are an immense number, some we know, many we do not, of people who do not have the haves they need, let alone the wants. Thus, I want to highlight a few giving opportunities with causes/organizations that are near and dear to my heart and are in need of our help and love.

  • InterAct of Wake County – I have been a survivor speaker with InterAct for almost eight years and currently sit on the Board of Directors. This amazing organization is dedicated to saving lives, rebuilding lives, and securing safer futures for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. They anticipate serving 30 individuals in crisis per day in the month of December alone. Do the math. That is nearly 1,000 people in crisis by the end of this year. You read that right. Please visit their website to donate today!  
  • Jon Clapp, living with ALS – “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis aka ALS, is a progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control.” (mayoclinic.org) As I have shared previously, my best friend’s brother-in-law was diagnosed with this debilitating disease earlier this year, at the young age of 39. He is an amazing husband, father of three, son, and brother. Talk about a family that is thankful for what they have and longing for their number one want: time. Time with Jon. Time to make more memories. Time to love each other. Time to get all their ducks in a row before his symptoms get worse. Please visit the GoFundMe set up in Jon’s name to help this wonderful family here!
  • The Captain’s HookOur family came across this company when a dear family friend sent two crocheted koalas to my kiddos. But they are not only beautiful little homemade stuffed animals; they serve a larger purpose. The proceeds generated went 100% to koala rescue in Australia, due to the wildfires. How amazing is that! Melissa Roth, the Massachusetts based owner, also hosts various fundraisers throughout the year for different organizations, benefitting from her beautiful work. Check out her website for a plethora of gorgeous crocheted items and to support important causes around the globe here!
  • Voices of HopeI have had the pleasure of connecting with Kristine Irwin, who founded this amazing organization dedicated to “ending the stigma that surrounds trauma, with a focus on sexual violence, domestic violence and abuse.” Kristine is a successful author and speaker, who also runs a blog and podcast aimed at empowering survivors to “Unveil their Voice” and find resources to assist with trauma recovery. Please visit Kristine’s beautiful website to learn more about Voices of Hope and donate today here!  

The giving bead can take on all different shapes, sizes, and colors. But the important thing is that we have it. Giving does not need to be monetary. Giving does not need to be expansive. It can be both of those things, but they are not required to make a huge difference in someone’s life. So, as we all enter this 2020 holiday season, remember to give in whatever capacity that means for you.

In the spirit of giving, I’m running a holiday Instagram giveaway! In partnership with Intentional Ten Podcast, we are giving away a signed copy of my memoir Beads (detailing my experience with sexual assault and the recovery process) with a personalized letter of encouragement + bookmark to encourage authentic, intentional living this holiday season (and always!). Click here to access the post and find out how to win! Wishing everyone a safe and joyful December!

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