If you read the first post, I wrote a sentence that encompasses my whole purpose in sitting down and thinking about all my stuff. I wrote:
"But let me propose to you that our stuff--the excess, the useful, the pretty, the sentimental--can be given purpose. We can use it to the build relationships with others, be generous and hospitable, or to meet other's needs."
I love having a simplified closet, a slim kitchen, and an organized bathroom, but my heart is that this stuff (even though it is fleeting) is a resource and serves a purpose. I want to use my stuff with a gracious heart--a heart that is thankful for all that I have and desires to give to things beyond myself.
You all know I'm learning how to do this. I have most definitely not perfected this art! I hope you are learning with me :)
For me, the kitchen is a great place to practice graciousness and love.
1). Excess: Did you clean out your pantry and realize that you had too many canned goods or boxes of cake? Give to your local food bank instead of letting them collect dust. Are you spending less money on groceries in an attempt to buy only what you need? Did you decide to drink tap water instead of bottled? Think about ways to help others get food or clean water in their bellies--like Feed My Starving Children or Charity Water.
2). The useful: Are you a coffee drinker and rely on your daily dose of caffeine to make it through the day? (umm...someone like me!) Think about buying coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters and support a good cause. We've been drinking their coffee for a few months now, and I definitely recommend it! Do you love to bake? Make cookies to bring to your co-workers or friends and bless their sweet tooth :) Plus, you never know how simple generosity opens up conversations and new friendships. Generosity is not giving lots of money; generosity is extending a blessing to someone or meeting a need--sometimes at the expense of your own time and resources.
3). The pretty: Do you have darling table clothes or table decor? Host a shower or offer to help with decorations for a party. Use those pretties :) Maybe you'll help a friend save some money on new decorations or be a blessing when you simply help! I'm learning the value of hospitality and how enjoyable it is to create a warm welcome in our home.
4). The sentimental: Do you have china you never use? Have some folks over for an afternoon tea and use your dishes to create an extra special atmosphere. Recently, my grandma gave me a set of Pyrex mixing bowls that I remember her using when I was a child. I was tempted to put them in a safe place and never use them, but I realized that I should use them instead. Now, whenever I mix things in those bowls, I am reminded of sweet memories with my grandma :)
What are ways that you find ways to be generous? I'd love to hear your ideas!