Happy Palm Sunday! Recently a few readers inquired if I was still observing the Lenten season. In past years I have talked about what Lent was and participated in 40 bags in 40 days, among other posts. Giving Up or Giving Back.
But this year I have quietly been observing Lent while practicing the instructions given in Matthew 6:1-4. So I am NOT going to talk about what I have been doing to prepare my heart for the arrival of Easter. I will only say that it does not involve in giving something up~ like chocolate, alcohol or meat. But rather, giving something back.
Giving Up or Giving Back
I thought it might be nice though to provide others with simple ways they can give back as a way to create a thankful heart this Easter week. In a small way, by performing acts of service, it prepares within us a way to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice and eternal gift that Jesus gave to every single one of us.
Simple ways to give back to your neighborhood.
Free: Smile and wave at everyone you see.
Free: Carry a plastic sack with you on your daily walk. Challenge yourself to fill it up with trash.
A few dollars: When the local nursery advertises 99 cent spring flowers load up and then anonymously share the joy with your neighbors.
One better: carry a trowel with you on your walk. In your plastic bag carry a flower or two and plant them in the empty mailbox planter of the elderly neighbor.
Simple ways to give back to your community.
Free: When you spy the harried mother with a cartful of crying kids at the grocery store approach her with a smile and sincerely say “Hang in there. You are doing a great job!”
Free: Volunteer to do story time at your local library or donate gently used books to Reach Out & Read.
Free: Wish you had better DIY skills? Volunteer to help build a house. Habitat for Humanity will train you.
Free or low cost: Volunteer your time or talent to a worthy cause. It might be crafting cards for use in the church ministry or spending the day on the lake helping a disabled veteran return to his love of fishing.
Low cost: Donate a bag of dog food or cat litter to your local shelter.
One better: Play with the kittens or walk the dogs at the Humane Society.
Simple Ways To Give Back To Your Country and World
Free: Give blood thru the American Red Cross.
Free: Register to become an organ donor. This one literally takes under TWO minutes to do.
Free: Have an old cell phone or laptop? The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence will either refurbish the item and resell it (raising funds for its anti-domestic violence programs) or simply pass it on to someone who desperately needs it.
Free: Extra airline miles or hotel loyalty points set to expire before you can use them? Donate them to the Make-A-Wish foundation and help make a wish come true for a child with a life-threatening medical condition.
Very low cost (only the cost of a stamp and paper): Not everyone will be with their families this Easter. Send a thank you note to our soldiers via Operation Gratitude.
One better: Send a soldier a care kit. Almost all of the items on the wish list can be purchased at the Dollar Store.
Did you happen to notice the theme of the “One better” options? I promise you that these acts will give you twice as much (or more) happiness and satisfaction than what you initially give.
Now go spread some joy. Laura