When my blog (finally) started making money this year, I decided to give away 20 percent of it. That’s over $4,000 this year that went to show God’s love to others!
I want to be transparent about where the money goes because you’ve helped me earn it! By visiting my site, clicking on affiliate links and buying from my Etsy shop, you’ve supported this blog and make it possible to donate to great causes! Thank you!
Quarter 1 – Young Life $1,000
Some friends invited us to a gala for Young Life. I didn’t know much about it, but as I researched a bit and heard about what they do, I was happy to donate to their mission:
Mission: “Young Life is a world-class organization for adolescents. Our staff and volunteers enter the world of kids, focusing on what matters to them — fun, adventure, friendship and a sense of significance. In doing so, we earn the privilege of talking to them about something that we think matters most of all — the truth about God and His love for them.”
A row of teens walked on stage at the gala, one by one, holding a sign with their struggle — feeling unloved, no friends, no confidence — then flipped the sign over to show who they now know they are in Christ: loved, part of a family, accepted.
They call it a cardboard testimony, an easier way for teens to share their faith than words. Oh I cried!
They host AMAZING camps, meet kids right where they are and offer mentor support and life-changing love. Such an amazing program.
Quarter 2 – Better Together & hosting $1,300
The second quarter of this year we hosted two little girls for the first time through Better Together. This organization aims to keep families together, without entering the foster care system, by offering parents help during times of crisis.
A host family care for the children for up to 90 days. This time gives parents some time to find a job or housing and a chance to get established. The parents meet regularly with a mentor to make life plans and get on the right path.
Mission: Better Together keeps families together by offering support and preventative services that empower the whole person and the entire family.
473,000: Children currently in the U.S. foster care system
60 percent: of those children are in the system due to neglect
Research shows neglect is preventable; it’s an outcome of chronic isolation and poverty. Sometimes even good parents lack the resources to be all they want to be for their kids.
I donated $300 to Better Together and spent $500 to get our guest room ready for these children as well as future children. How did I already forget how many things you need for babies?! Fortunately I already had some things and found others on consignment.
- Crib mattress
- Crib sheet
- Baby blankets
- Crib pillows
- Dresser/changing table
- Changing pad, cover and liners
- Assorted diaper sizes and wipes
- Diaper cream
- Baby soap and lotion
- Sippy cups
- No spill snack holders
- Diaper bag
- For fun: water table and swim suits
We went quite a bit over this quarter! And it was with pure joy. We didn’t know how much help the girls’ mother would need in her new place. My heart was in shreds when I dropped the girls off to an empty, space with no chair, dresser, table, nothing.
The next day Marcello and I showed up with a minivan full of food, shelves for the kitchen, plastic bins to organize, a rug, dresser, twinkle lights. My mom and dad bought even bought her a small dining set! We picked it up that day.
That has been one of the most impactful days of our lives to date. To comprehend that you can see a need and take action is a powerful thing. You don’t necessarily need an organization or to wait for someone else to do it. Sometimes God is calling you!
Read the post: Our first experience fostering kids short-term
Quarter 3: I am giving $800 worth of bouquets to strangers
I’m still in the process of this one! Since the summer I’ve been buying a bouquet when I’m out and handing it to a stranger to brighten their day.
At first they want to know what I want. I have learned that the first thing out of my mouth has to be “random act of kindness” so the person is not confused! Most really can’t believe someone is giving them flowers, like I’m handing out cash or something.
Some cry. There are lots of hugs. One woman told me through tears that she had received terrible medical news that day and she knew the flowers were from God. One woman said her daughter had just passed away and that she too needed these from God.
Then others are so stunned they don’t say thank you. And I’m ok with that! I’m not handing out flowers to feel good about myself or get a pat on the back. But when I look back at them as I drive away I see a slight smile or maybe she forgot where she parked.
I always pray and ask God who they go to and almost every time there is barely anyone in the parking lot except one person!
I’m going to write a post on this when I’m finished, but this started after I saw strangers on two separate occasions screaming and cussing at each other. I prayed fervently and this idea came to me as soon as I was done.
This is one way to change the space I’m in, to be the light of Jesus in a broken world. It’s also been an important blessing in my life and part of my healing from depression.
Here is one interaction. The woman is very confused why I’m giving away flowers, as you can see! :)
Quarter 4: Christmas fun bags and supplies for homeless shelter $1,000
Marcello and I short-term fostered two little boys for a week this month. They are one and two years old and currently staying in a shelter with their mother. I was happy to be of some help, but it left me feeling empty and wanting to do more.
This shelter feeds people, offers a bed to sleep in, gives anyone place to shower, helps them find jobs, offers classes, Bible studies and AA meetings. What struck me was the amazing, positive attitude that filled the building. There was joy and genuine caring for people. It was striking.
A couple days after I took the boys back to their mother, our family went to a super amazing birthday party with all the favors imaginable! My kids went on and on about them, playing with them for days. So I got the idea to buy the same things and make fun bags for kids visiting the shelter!
The kids and I assembled 75 fun bags! The next day we headed out to the shelter to drop off the gifts and 400 little tubes of toothpaste the shelter had stated a need for. They make shower packets in ziplock bags for the homeless with toothpaste and toiletries.
It brought joy to my heart to be spending more on giving to the needy than we spent on Christmas for our own family!
Read the post: Fun gift bags for kids in need
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How you make money?
If you’re curious how it’s possible to make money blogging, I shared everything I know about it here: How to start a blog and make money. This was my most popular post this year after it went viral on Pinterest!