Looking Back on a Year of Giving

As most of you know, my “One Word” for 2014 that I chose was “Give.” I never knew how many different ways I could give. The idea of choosing one word for a year is that you will live it out and change your life for the better. Well, 2014 was full of giving opportunities for me and it did change my life. After consciously choosing to give for a few weeks, it became natural, and I found that I just started doing things that were giving back to others or giving my time or friendship, love, whatever it was freely and unselfishly. So, I challenge you to pick ONE WORD for 2015 that you think could change your life and stick with it for the entire year.

So, since I am photographer, of course I took many different pictures throughout the year documenting many of the different ways I gave to others. Here are just a few:

2014 started off with me giving my entire purse to a drug dealer who happened to be in the right place at the right time. As I went to pick my children up from daycare (at our church), some man saw that my car wasn’t locked as I entered the building and stole my entire purse with Christmas money and all inside of it. I always lock my doors and even tried to that day, but for whatever reason, the remote key didn’t lock the doors. My purse that was stolen was a Christmas gift that I only had for about 3 weeks, along with a 3-day old phone and some cash totaling near $300-$400. Gulp! Wow! Didn’t expect to give like that!1002375_10151981787082857_2014381124_n
I had some Chinese food and got this fortune. I found a friend that really needed a hug and shared one.

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I gave some time and elbow grease to a group in Indianapolis doing amazing things for God. They converted an old nasty and filthy (literally) strip club in a rough neighborhood into a community center to provide children and families a safe place to hear about the amazing things that God can do and just be loved for being there.

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There is a laundry mat next door to the community center, so we stopped by to pay for people to do their laundry.

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I raised money and donated it to the American Lung Association to help fight lung cancer, as well as doing my first ever Fight for Air Climb up the Chase tower in downtown Indianapolis (47 floors).

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Then there is the typical way to give to your local Goodwill store or our local Churches in Mission. I donated all of this, plus another full load.

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I spent a day teaching inner-city children the importance of some life skills (how to save and spend money in the economy through the Junior Achievement Program.

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Once again, God required me to give some things that I hadn’t intended to, but in the end, new and better things were waiting for me. In the photo below, I was on my way to work when a young buck leaped into my windshield and totaled my car, sending me to the hospital with blood gushing out of my head. God blessed me that day because I left the hospital with no broken bones and no stitches. The deer didn’t make out so well though. But I did give a young man a nice deer to have some fresh deer meat to feed his family.

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For the second year in a row, I organized our church’s effort to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children across the world to give them some Christmas cheer a s apart of Operation Christmas Child.

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I gave up a lot of time, sweat, and effort to repaint a family member’s house.

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I gave my time to help coach my daughter’s summer baseball league. I got to enjoy watching the children develop their skills, learn new things and have a winning season!

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I worked on developing my inner crafty self and made all of our children’s grandparents this plaque below. It was made from scratch, with lots of love.

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I gave my time on a Saturday morning in December to help host an event for all of these Riley hospital heart transplant patients. Wow! These children are seriously amazing and learning about what they have to go through on a daily basis was heart breaking.

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Last, but not least, I gave away a couple of photo sessions to very deserving families. This family is of course a military family and I wanted to simply give them a photo session to thank him for his service and dedication to our country.

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This family below was one of 3 lucky winners to a give away that I had for very deserving families. I wanted to give back to a few families who have had a rough time over the past couple of years and this family lost several loved ones among many others. So during their photo session, they let balloons go and shared some very special moments with each other. I was so honored to be able to capture that for them.

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I gave to others in many other ways throughout the year, these are just the few that I have photos of. As 2014 comes to a close, I don’t plan on giving up on giving. It’s become a natural thing for me and I plan to continue giving in my everyday life. For 2015, my new word is POSITIVE. There are so many difficult and negative situations, people, etc. So, just reminding myself to put a positive outlook on everything and a reminder for me to be positive and to help others see that even though things might be rough, there is always something to be thankful for and to count your blessings. What will your word be?

 

 

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