12.05.2014

Paying It Forward

{yep-YOU. I'm looking at YOU!}

#TGIF! Who's with me? :)

The other night, Billy and I volunteered at an all women's homeless shelter. Something that I really wanted to do before Camden comes along, and if I'm being really honest, for the past few years but I failed to make it happen. In a world so wrapped up in gift giving (and I admit that I'm not an exception to this, as I often stress more than I should about buying the perfect gifts, making my list, etc.), I wanted to focus on something else and felt like with all the love we have received this year that I wanted to pay it forward in some way.

We spent the evening serving meals to the women, making small talk with them as they came through the line, and preparing bagged lunches for the following day. The one thing that stood out to me were the positive attitudes of most of the women who came through the line. Here they are, in a situation where they don't have a place to call home and with not much to their name, but they put forth an effort to make US laugh and smile. Most of them still had smiles on their face, and were extremely grateful for a warm meal. It made me realize how I handle the hard times and bad days in my life and I know that when I do have them, I can't say I have a positive attitude or a smile on my face. Do I come home and whine? Yep. Do I feel sorry for myself and use that as an excuse to not focus on all the good in my life? Oh yeah. 

It really makes you think about what is truly important in your life, and to focus on what you do have, instead of what you don't.

When we were finished for the evening, we had to cut through the cafeteria where the women were eating to exit the building and a group of the women looked over and noticed I was pregnant. They started chanting and clapping, mainly for Billy, and were so excited for us asking us when we were due and what we were having. In that moment, Billy's face turned a whole different shade of red that I never knew existed before, but we both thought it was hilarious and really sweet.

When we got outside to our car Billy turned to me and said, "is this going to be a yearly thing now?" and I just smiled back at him. I think he knows the answer to that.

Today, as I'm reflecting back on our experience (don't get me wrong-I'm definitely not Mother Theresa for doing this one thing and need to improve myself in many ways) I challenge you all to pay it forward in some way this weekend. It can be in any way. Or to maybe think about volunteering your time this holiday season. I just felt like sharing our experience because I always want to remember it and thought it might inspire some of you. :)

If you live in Columbus and are interested in volunteering...here is the website I went to to sign us up, which has a lot of opportunities you can look into. 

Let's all try to not forget the real meaning of the season! Cliche, but true. PS-Don't forget that on my post from Monday, you can have a donation sent to Feeding America in your name just by leaving a comment (and it also enters you into a $50 Gift Card giveaway!) Have a good weekend, friends.

9 comments :

  1. That's such a great idea, I've been wanting to volunteer with a local veterans organization but just haven't found time. Glad to hear you enjoyed the experience and thanks for the inspiration!

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  2. aww how awesome of you two!! I've been wanting to go to our local soup kitchen!

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  3. I love this! I'll be volunteering with my church small group! I'm so excited!

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  4. I appreciate your honesty and humbleness here, and it's a great thing you did volunteering. Your heart is in the right place, and you're sending a great message to all of your followers. Happy weekend dear! xDabay

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  5. That sounds like such an awesome experience. I definitely want to find a soup kitchen or something in my area so I can pay it forward during the holiday season. Hope you have a great weekend!

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  6. I had the opportunity to volunteer at a soup kitchen on Tuesday. My business put together several different opportunities to go out into the community for the Day of Giving. I was tasked with the job of holding the door open & greeting everyone as they came in. It was truly the most rewarding thing I have done in a very long time. I learned that a simple thing as holding the door open for someone and saying hello can make an entire difference in someone's day. It's the simple things like that we take for granted out of busyness or whatever so it was nice to regain that perspective. It truly was such a rewarding experience. Glad you had a wonderful time & will be back again because I know I will be volunteering like that again as well. Have a great weekend!

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  7. I love volunteering. As part of the Junior league, you have a volunteer placement that helps give back to the community. It has been so humbling working with inner city kids after school even if it is only for an hour each week. I would love to visit a soup kitchen or help and salvation army one day as well.

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  8. This made me feel all warm and fuzzy my friend - I loving giving and helping (especially at this time of year!) I wish we had a shelter or soup kitchen that we could volunteer at - maybe the orphanage for me :)
    x

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