Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January Giving Update

It's the end of the month, and time for a giving update. (Yes, I know there's one more day in January, but my Thursday is quite busy.) As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I've decided to raise money to pay for 1/4 of a well in Africa through the Mission: Water for Life program, and I have a personal goal of $100 per month. The thing to note is that I personally don't normally generate an income. I'm a stay-at-home mom and a student, and I don't make things for an Etsy store. Personally coming up with $100 a month strictly to give away is honestly a stretch of my faith and abilities, and that is part of what makes this process so exciting for me.

Though I got a late start in my giving plan this month (I didn't even hear about this project until about two weeks ago), the money came together quite quickly. For January, I reached and exceeded my $100 goal. I sold a few books and baby things on eBay. That accounts for about $53 worth of what I raised.

Then, we went to an estate sale last weekend where they were selling everything for $4.00 a bag. I'm not talking about a puny plastic Wal-Mart bag, but a big heavy-duty paper sack. I crammed that thing full with wrapping paper, craft supplies, serving dishes, little toys, and kitchen utensils, but one more thing on the table caught my eye. I didn't know what it was and the family was ready to go, so I popped it into my bag for later inspection. When I had a chance to look at it more closely, it turns out to be a wine opener that retails for $129.00. It was missing a couple of parts, so I sold it as-is on eBay for another $20. (Now, if I could only come across another prosthetic leg to list. Legs -- that's where the big bucks are.)

Additionally, I participate in taste test studies every once in a while that I get paid small sums to complete. I haven't done one in maybe a year because I only like to do the studies I can take home. (I don't want to sit in a room slurping soup with strangers when I can be home slurping soup with my loved ones.) Anyway, it's been ages since the company asked me to do one because of my at-home policy, but as soon as I became available to giving to this project whatever income I could generate, the call came within two days. I was given this really delicious cheese and spice blend to try and critique. (It mixes in with ground beef to make really yummy burgers.) So, not only did I get the foundation for a couple of meals for free, I also got paid $35.00. All of that rounds out the month.

At this point, what I've decided to do is apply $100 (or thereabouts) every month to this cause, leaving the rest of what I make or save in our general budget for other things. I waivered between that and giving everything I can generate to this giving project, stopping only once I reached the $1200 goal. I don't know... I'm still on the fence, actually.

I don't think there's one right way to complete this personal challenge, and I may find myself vascilating between the two options. I know what my ultimate hope and expectation is, and I have to say I'm extraordinarily excited about how easily it's coming together. I'm surprised at how quickly I've been able to generate funds without pulling from our personal budget, and I think if I focus, I may be able to reach the $1200 goal quite quickly. With a little application, I believe it could be attainable before December. (I've not even begun to apply what I've saved from my grocery budget! It's just stayed in the general fund because I met this month's goal in other ways.)

Anyway, I just love how God is showing up in a big way already. Once I decided to step out here, God made ready the places for my foot to fall.

"...from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor."
Psalm 68:10b


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