Inspired by Betty Londergan's What Gives 365 and the Bible (not necessarily in that order!), I'm giving away $250 a week in 2011.

This is where I'm recording that journey, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Finish Line

Have you ever reached the end of something, only to discover that the finish line is merely the starting line for another leg of the journey? I felt that way when I graduated from high school, and eventually with my PhD. I'm feeling it again today.

Admittedly, I have not taken enough time to reflect on just what this giving journey has taught me. A few initial lessons come to mind:

- Giving money away responsibly takes more effort than one might think. I didn't always put in the research and reflection time required.
- Spreading gifts widely but thinly is an approach to giving with distinct advantages and disadvantages
- People's reactions to this project were mixed and interesting. They ranged from immediate enthusiasm to taking offense to lobbying for their cause to indifference - and I'm sure many others I wasn't aware of.
- Once the money was already 'spent in my head', giving it away was easy
- I did and didn't want people to engage in conversation with me about this. At times I was craving more 'traffic' and other times I just didn't want to bother thinking about it anymore.
- I'm not sure this has transformed me into a real blogger, but I suspect I'll occasionally miss it.

I appreciate how this process has sensitized me to needs in my community and around the world. It's broadened what I've been reading. It's gotten me back in the habit of generosity, but hasn't really required much sacrifice. It hasn't been as contagious to my children as I'd hoped it would be, but perhaps to a few other people at least...

As my husband and I discuss what's next for us in terms of learning to give, we are paying close attention to some of these lessons. What needs have come to our attention that we are well placed to meet? How might we focus our giving more strategically? How can we do more than write a cheque? What might this mean for our whole family?

No firm answers or plans yet. I am waiting to learn from a couple of upcoming trips to Africa - one to Lesotho in March that friends are taking, and a second to Kenya and Tanzania in July that I hope to take with my daughter. Needs will become obvious to us through those and I want to be open to responding generously. I'm also curious if we will end up playing a larger role with a program called Baby Smarts that I've recently begun facilitating in local high schools through Beginnings Family Services. It talks about healthy relationships, slowing down decision making, understanding what parenthood requires, and lots of other important issues for teens. Seems like a great fit for our family and a program with lots of room for growth.

For now, this week's final donation is going to the Benevolent Fund at our church. The fund is used to provide for people in our congregation and community who find themselves unexpectedly in financial need. These funds are Truly needed. They're applied to local needs in a compassionate, immediate and practical way, with little concern for overhead costs or 'overthinking.' I could use a dose of that right now.

To those of you who have faithfully read this blog and/or encouraged me along the way, I sincerely thank you. I hope Just Giving It has been an inspiration to you in some way. May you have not only a happy new year, but a prosperous and generous one as well.


  1. I for one have been inspired, driven to action and consistently encouraged by your journey. I sincerley hope you continue to blog about wherever God leads you and your heart next!


  2. I've loved following along and participating in this year with you. Thanks for doing this publicly. Happy new year!

  3. Be encouraged, Rebecca! You have encouraged us, provoked us, challenged us... I can't believe this year is already over. I'm excited to see what the next months and years bring. God grant us wisdom and "ungripped fists" to give!

    Kathy Lambkin

  4. My vote is baby smarts jk. Congrats on your journey I have appreciated reading it and following your giving. You've brought attention to a lot of great organizations and deserving people!

  5. This journey has been thought provoking for those of us who have been following it but more importantly it has touched our hearts.
    Your blog has made me laugh and brought me to tears - often.
    I'm confident that whatever the Lord leads you to do in 2012, will be done well. Your passion for others is inspiring to us and is a remarkable example.
    God Bless for 2012
    Wendy Seberras

  6. Rebecca
    I am sorry the year is over - as I have so enjoyed your blog (I was introduced to it, via Susan F). It has been delightful in a number of ways - I've appreciated hearing about your 'process'; the exposure I got to a wide range of charitable options, your candid report of how you've grappled with values and biases, expectations and assumptions - and in your sharing, I've sometimes done the same.

    I found your posts intriguing - they piqued my curiosity (about who the recipients were and how you came to make your decisions each week) and they invoked vicarious excitement on behalf of the recipients of your grace and thoughtfulness. Thanks for this journey - I was impacted by your project and wanted to offer my appreciation and thanks. Blessings as you seek your next creative adventure. (Bonnie)

  7. Rebecca,

    First off, congratulations on your tenacity, discipline and determination in seeing your giving journey to its end or perhaps to its new beginning...

    I think your efforts have chronicled the decision making process we use in so many parts of our lives and not just when we are deciding to whom or to what we give our charitable dollars.

    To me, your journey highlights how sometimes it's good to follow a well structured plan and sometimes it's better just to have the inner faith to follow the spontaneity and serendipity of life. As you indicated, the tough part is walking through this decision making process week in and week out/day in and day out. So much of what we do in our lives requires a lot of energy and effort. But as your blog has shown, if we can get past focusing on only our own daily challenges and instead focus some of our efforts on helping others, the perspectives we gain through giving help to make our daily decisions a lot easier to make.

    I think I have always believed this principle to be true. But now I have a stronger faith in its trueness. With this in mind, I believe the final value of your weekly blogging efforts is far greater than the sum total of your weekly $250 financial contributions.

    Good on you friend.

    Caroline W.

  8. Rebecca,

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us this past year on learning the art and joy of 'just giving it'! Thanks also for your honesty and willingness to be an example for the rest of us. My prayer is that the spirit of generosity flowing from a generous God continue to grow in all of as His children.