In yesterday's blog, I introduced an easy way to give with a Reverse Advent Calendar. Basically, instead of taking items/chocolate out of a box for 24 days, put 24 items into a box for 24 days... then donate that box of goods to a local food bank. Simples!
Watch this short video to see which items we've chosen to put in our Reverse Advent Calendar Box. I hope you join my family and me in giving back to your local community!
(I can't help it. My heart strings are easily pulled when I hear someone is in need. I'm like, "You need some money?! Here, take a tenner!" (that's £10 for my non-British friends). No biggie... right?! I look around me... I'm sitting in a warm home with a satisfied, happy tummy. My family's needs are met, and for that, I thank God every day. I also know that there are plenty of families near us - it could be just a few doors or streets down - who can't say the same. I know there are plenty of people in need, those I may know, those who I may not know, but nevertheless, whose needs are not fulfilled. I'm sure you're aware of this, too... but perhaps you don't know what you can do to help. I'm going to introduce you to a very simple way of giving back in the lead up to Christmas - a Reverse Advent Calendar. #FoodbankAdvent (Photo of food basket above used with permission and thanks to Faith Archer at https://www.muchmorewithless.co.uk/)
I'm pretty sure that most people know that with an advent calendar, you open a door or box and take something out of the advent calendar each day for the 24 days before Christmas. But with a Reverse Advent Calendar, you put something into a box for 24 days, one item each day. Those 24 "somethings" are then donated to your local food bank, such as a Trussell Trust food bank (click here to find your nearest location) or one in your local area. How simple is that?! I am joining other UK Money Bloggers in this nationwide campaign, so there are (hopefully) hundreds, maybe thousands, of other individuals and families participating UK-wide.
Before we go any further, please take a few minutes to watch this short video.
Heart strings pulled yet?? Right, if you're ready to join me and take action, find a Wish List below and links to the Trussell Trust's food and non-food lists below.
After looking over a list of needed items from our local food bank @Telford Crisis Support, as well as that on the Trussell Trust website (here) and non-food items (here), I am going to pick up 24 items from the shop, focusing on the non-food items. Each day for the next 24 days, one of my daughters - taking turns every other day - will choose an item to put into the donation box. I want to show our daughters that these are items that others NEED and that they may take for granted.
If you're going to join me to help provide basic necessities, I want to urge you to start soon... like, today or tomorrow. These boxes need to be delivered to the food bank at the beginning of December so the volunteers have time to sort through donations and get them in the right hands as soon as possible. If you're in the Telford area, please get in touch with me, and we'll organise pick up and delivery of the boxes to the food bank.
I know that many of my readers are not located in the UK. I urge you to join me anyway! The same concept can be applied anywhere in the world. Please let me know if you're going to participate in the Reverse Advent Calendar and post your photos to the Finding the Pennies Facebook page! I'm looking forward to seeing how we can all make a difference.
He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave!
I was going to write a post about how I've saved money today, but I just can't... I need to praise and boast in my Lord! Hillsong's "Mighty to Save" has been playing through my mind over the past two weeks while the search and rescue of the Wild Boars football team in Thailand were underway. He is mighty to save! I prayed, "God, You can move mountains. You are a mighty God. You can lead the search team to these boys. You are a mighty God." Thousands, maybe even millions, of people around the world have been praying for the safe rescue of this team, for their families and for the incredible number of professionals and volunteers involved in their rescue.
If you were anything like me, you were often checking for any update on the situation in northern Thailand. Lord, You are mighty to save! The amazing news came today that all 12 boys and their coach have been saved from the depths of a mountain. The Lord showed the whole world that He is in control. He's in control of the circumstances that led the boys to go into the cave. He's in control of that monsoon that caused the water to rise rapidly in the cave, trapping the team inside. He led the rescuers to the team. He sustained the team the whole 17 days they were trapped in the dark. He gave everyone the ability and the knowledge to guide them out and into the light. Was it easy?! Absolutely not! The cave had it's ups and downs and it's very narrow points. Yes, unfortunately, a life was lost inside that cave. The Lord has His reasons that we find difficult to understand. But tonight, the team are resting in the care of the doctors and nurses, soon to be reunited with their family and friends. What an AMAZING picture of God's salvation!
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see!
If you live in the dark, without the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, in your life, you have every opportunity to ask our Heavenly Father to come into your save you. Jesus Christ came into the world to save you and me from eternal condemnation and separation from the God.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever shall believe in Him, shall have everlasting life!"
Friends, if you don't know your Saviour, Jesus Christ, I want to encourage you to seek Him. Ask Him into your life. You will find rest in His care. Please feel free at any time to send me a message if you'd like some support or encouragement. He is mighty to save! Amen.
You know that feeling when you're on holiday/vacation and the world just seems right? You leave your cares at home and you're enjoying time with you family and your friends when suddenly the brain fog clears, you feel inspired and think, "Something has to change." Well, that happened to us last weekend - us, meaning, my husband and me.
Last weekend for the 3-day bank holiday weekend, we visited our friends in London and felt relaxed the second we walked into their beautiful, spa-like-scented flat. I don't need to go into detail about our friends' amazing generosity or what we did in London, but I definitely want to let you in on the changes Jeff and I want to make to enjoy life more.
1. Once-a-month date night - Jeff and I love spending time together, especially on our own without the girls, but we hardly ever get to due to not having parents around to babysit and not prioritizing money in our budget for a babysitter and dinner or a movie out. Not anymore: at the beginning of each month we're going to decide our date night, book a babysitter (do you book a babysitter?!) and budget for a night out.
2. Home Improvements - After 4 years in our house, we're having a back splash tiled and 4 rooms painted... eventually. As the self-declared most indecisive person in the world, I haven't completely settled on the tile for the back splash, nor have we completely decided whether or not we're going through with this. I kind of drive myself crazy going back and forth on whether do something or not... I'll let you know what we decide.
3. De-clutter the house - We also desperately need to de-clutter the house due, again, to my indecisiveness that has led to piles of papers, magazines, toys and clothes. All of this stuff doesn't bring me happiness - very Konmari, indeed. I've decided to concentrate on one small area of our home per week. Again, small changes consistently worked on will bring change.
4. Achieve my weight loss goals - of course, this goal is only for me. A month ago, I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers for the umpteenth time, which you can read about here (the-night-before.html). It's been slow until due to giving myself too many allowances (aka: treats), but I'm focused and determined to reach my goal. Life will be so much more enjoyable when I can finally stop thinking about reaching my goal weight.
5. Our careers - because I don't know who will be reading this, I can't exactly go into detail about thoughts and plans. Our friends encouraged us, however, to consider where we want to be in 5 and 10 years time and start working towards it.
What "something" in your life has to change? What is holding you back from making these changes? Are there some changes you'd like to make that you don't have control over? I want to encourage you to speak to your spouse or close friends about these changes and ask them to help you put them into action and hold you accountable to making those positive steps in your life.
Ready. Set. (Deep breath.) Go! Finding the Pennies' new website is officially launched! Combine a few months of deliberation, research, work, help and insight from friends who know their stuff and trust in the Lord that He has a plan for this blog... and voila!... FindingthePennies.com is launched!
I will be the first to admit that there is plenty of work to be done and plenty for me to learn, but you know what? - that's okay! I am not here to present you with a perfect blog; I simply want to share my thoughts in the hope that it inspires you in some way - be it through discussing my money-saving mindset and the absolute thrill I get when I find money, penny-sized (aka "small") changes that could make a real impact on your life, reflecting on God's goodness and unconditional love, or simply through a recipe our family enjoys.
So, here it goes. I hope you join me for many more blog posts. Take care, Lauren.