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Thinking about the problems and issues in the world can sometimes be overwhelming. The number of organisations, causes, and campaigns seeking our help in order to solve these problems, is almost as overwhelming.

Being overwhelmed can often cause us to stop, to do nothing, to ignore whatever is causing us to feel overwhelmed, pretend it’s not actually there, and move our thoughts and energy to something that doesn’t overwhelm us…

That’s been me for a while now, clearly evidenced by the lack of fresh content right here on LLG. Of course there’s plenty of other excuses I can make about being super busy with family, or running a business, etc, etc… But we make time for what we choose, and to be honest, giving any time or energy to this blog and what it represents, has been frankly overwhelming – and that’s resulted in… Well very little, as you can see.

Unsubscribe

Over the years I’ve joined, subscribed to, donated to, supported… so many things. You may relate – you come across an epic & moving video for a new cause, read a compelling story of hope sown amongst despair, or hear from an advocate about why their cause is changing the world… and of course you immediately feel compelled to support or give. So you do… Great choice! But in that honeymoon phase with your newly joined cause, you’ve kinda forgotten about the 7 other causes you’ve ‘committed to’ at some stage… And so it goes. Before long you’re receiving a constant stream of emails, letters and information about plenty of great things going on to address the plethora of issues in our world, and all wanting something from you. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

It’s time to unsubscribe.

I simply can’t read, digest or support all these organisations, nor could anyone realistically be expected to. So I’m choosing only the organisations that I am really passionate about, maybe 5, and unsubscribing from the rest. I hope to focus on these well – read, pray, give and advocate. 

Inaction

I hope to steer clear from the inaction caused by being overwhelmed. I’m starting by unsubscribing and investing well with those few causes I choose, then I aim to get back into writing more here, and who knows what’s beyond that… I have so many ideas and passions about all this, some of which may or may not happen.

Perhaps you need to do some unsubscribing too, even from this blog (hopefully not!) – be realistic about your current capacity to support a cause. Or maybe you need to subscribe – start learning, supporting, advocating and donating to a cause.

Whatever it is, I encourage you to do something. Be proactive, be planned, be strategic in your support and giving. Choose who or what your support wisely, and choose only a few and support them well. Give generously, time and money, until you feel the pinch.

In some ways it’s a very right response to be overwhelmed – there is a shocking abundance of issues and problems in this world that call for our response. But the wrong response is to do nothing…

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The Pinch of Giving

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The Joy of Giving

How often have you given money to some cause or organisation and wondered if the funds will ever make it to the project or person it was intended? I am generally fairly trusting, and assume it goes where it’s supposed to… though on one recent occasion, we chose to use some of our credit card points to donate funds to the Fred Hollows Foundation – we never even saw any sort of receipt or even acknowledgement that the money went there… in this case I was a little skeptical I must admit! It kinda robs you of any satisfaction in giving, wondering if the funds met their purpose… but the opposite is also true when you see the outcome of your generosity…

Recently I got an email from my mate, Dan, who some time ago collected some funds in our small group for a project in Cambodia. I had forgotten about it completely, making receiving the email below even more encouraging to see the impact that our small notion of generosity made…

// DAN:

Hi Guys!

Hope you’re all doing well. Remember when we collected money for the Mother and her daughter in Cambodia last year, so that they could buy some land and have somewhere to live and make a living? Well, I didn’t just pocket the cash… that money went to Cambodia and has transformed the prospects of this family, so thanks guys! Emma was very excited to send us the following info and photos: Continue reading “The Joy of Giving”

Lately: The Economics of Giving

On the final run down to Christmas 2012, and possibly the last post for the year (given my record lately!), I thought I’d share a good commentary on gift giving I read lately… Enjoy.

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“With just one week till Christmas … we are reminding ourselves of the gift that we have been given at the first Christmas.
Continue reading “Lately: The Economics of Giving”

“Micro-Generosity”

There’s always lots to read and write about global poverty, “Third World problems” and the massive efforts taking place by international aid organisations, but sometimes it’s good to hear about local action taking place – you could call it “Micro-Generosity” (similar to micro finance) – not ‘micro’ as in a small amount of generosity, but in terms of generosity taking place on a smaller scale, by individuals or small organisations or groups.

These days there are some great tools around that allow people to raise money for just about any cause. Everyday Hero is a great Aussie website that does just this – build your own fundraising page to raise money for over 1200 charities. It’s very popular with over 20,000 ‘heroes’ in action today! Another big one is Causes where “anyone can change the world” as they say. And it’s true – they’ve raised over $40 million for 27,000 non-profits! Continue reading ““Micro-Generosity””

How did you ‘spend’ your Christmas?

Just before Christmas this year I went down to our local bargin store ‘L.A Variety’ with my 2yr old Isy and we bought 2 sets of Christmas lights for a total of $12.95 – gotta love bargin stores! I found myself wondering if we really need 2 sets, and where we’d even put the second set, but then I thought… what’s another $5.00… why not! Our local newspaper, The Manly Daily, recently ran a story on the Richards family who have spent $250k on christmas lights…yep you read correct $250,000! Read the full story.

$250k on chrissie lights Continue reading “How did you ‘spend’ your Christmas?”

Gifts That Give Twice

cataloguesIt’s that time of year where you start to get bombarded everyday with countless catalogues from all the major department stores and a myriad of other local retail businesses tempting you to buy all the latest and greatest for chrissie…. and let’s be honest, I love to have a browse and check out all the things I really want, but can’t really afford!

As well as all these ‘retail’ catalogues, you might be like us and receive a bunch of ‘gift catalogues’ from charity organisations. I think these catalogues are awesome! Such an easy and great way to be generous, and also a bit of a conversation starter if you give these gifts to someone who has never really heard of a gift catalogue before. I think it is a little confusing and perplexing for some when they get a gift, but don’t actually receive anything tangible, except the blessing of giving!

Continue reading “Gifts That Give Twice”

Celebrate Progress and Never Stop Asking for Change

MDGThere’s a lot of power in shocking statistics that portray the ‘doom and gloom’ of poverty and other big issues – they can help us to come to terms with the reailty of what others are going through in this world and can often move us to action. I see heaps of these ‘shocking stats’, but not so often do I come across more ‘positive stats’ – stats that highlight the encouraging progress that is being made and celebrating the change that has been achieved over the years.

I recently came across a great video that showed some great stats on the progress that has been made on the Millenium Development Goals (MDG):

In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge became the eight Millennium Development Goals to be achieved by 2015. In September 2010, the world recommitted itself to accelerate progress towards these goals. (from UNDP website).

MDGThere’s some big goals here and it’s so encouraging to see the progress that has been made so far – here’s a snapshot of some awesome ‘positive stats’ from the video: Continue reading “Celebrate Progress and Never Stop Asking for Change”

(Dis)contentment and Perspective

Ahhh to be content!! I recently heard a great talk at church on… you guessed it… contentment. I thought at the time that it was a ‘timely’ message for me… but on reflection, any time would be ‘timely’ when talking about contentment… I mean who isn’t seeking contentment everyday?

(DIS)CONTENTMENT

I’m thankful for so many blessings in my life, and content with lots of things, but there’s definitely a few things that I’m currently discontent with… meet my car…

Pulsar Continue reading “(Dis)contentment and Perspective”

A Few Ways to Help East Africa

Unless you are’ living under a rock’ as they say, you would know about the drought, severe famine, fighting and massive refugee problem going on in East Africa or the Horn of Africa. This is an epic humanitarian disaster with millions of people affected and displaced – it rightly deserves our attention and more so our response through action and generosity.

East Africa

It’s great to see the massive amount of action taking place through campaigns and programs by international charity/aid organsations, but it can also be a little overwhelming to know how to help and what to contribute to!

Here are a few great ways to help the people of East Africa: Continue reading “A Few Ways to Help East Africa”