By Andrea Merrigan, Blogger of the Month for May
Memorial Day is a day we celebrate the ultimate act of generosity —individuals who have lost their lives while fighting for our freedom. For many military families Memorial Day is not a weekend filled with camping, boating, grilling, or relaxing with family and friends. Instead, it is a weekend to remember those we have lost. Wives who have lost their husbands, husbands who have lost their wives, children who have lost their parents, parents who have lost their children, and military members who have lost their battle buddies and closest friends.
Being a military wife for the last 12 years has given me perspective on just how much sacrifice is made for our freedom. It takes amazing strength to send off your loved one to war and even more strength not to have them return home. This weekend is a time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy our freedom and a three-day weekend. For a little history on Memorial Day, here is a good article to read.
So as we think of generosity today, please remember those who never made it home and the families who are remembering their loved ones at Memorial Day (and every day). Be grateful for those who have made the sacrifice for our freedom. Consider doing something special for a military family or donating to a non-profit that works with the military, like the Wounded Warriors Project.
Generosity and gratitude go hand in hand. Being grateful for the blessings in our lives, even the small things, gives us perspective and allows us to be generous to others. I started a gratitude journal a month or two ago. Every night before bed I write down something I am grateful for that day. Even on really difficult days focusing on just one thing I’m grateful for reminds me just how blessed I am. I challenge you to start a gratitude journal today!
While being grateful, here are some ideas to be generous that can fit into anyone’s budget.
1. Volunteer to serve a meal at a homeless shelter.
2. Pack some brown bag lunches with a group of people. Then go out and deliver them to homeless people.
3. Donate some of your extra household items (we all have them!) to a family who lost their home in a fire.
4. Drop off a bag of groceries to a family who is out of work.
5. Visit an elderly person and chat about his or her life.
6. Volunteer at a local nursing home or assisted living center to help with activities: bingo, painting their nails, giving them a bouquet of flowers, play the piano, eat lunch with them, read them a book, and more!
7. Carry $5 gift cards for fast-food restaurants or grocery stores in your area to hand to people who may need a little extra help.
8. Give someone a hug.
9. Donate blood.
10. Give a single mom or dad a break and watch their kids for a few hours.
11. Take a meal to someone who is recovering from surgery, lost a loved one, or has a new baby at home.
12. Deliver a plant to a friend who needs a little joy in his or her life.
13. Strike up a conversation with someone in the elevator, on the bus, or at the park. You never know the friendships that can bloom from talking to a stranger!
14. Invite someone new in town out for drinks or dinner with your friends.
15. Send birthday cards and thinking-of-you cards to friends and family.
16. Take an elderly neighbor’s trashcan to the curb or mow their lawn.
So what small act of generosity did you do last week? What ideas do you have to be generous to others? Do you have a gratitude journal?
Andrea enjoys life as a military wife and spends her days working in the insurance field. In her free time she blogs at A Modern Hippie. She started blogging soon after she got married to her hubby 12 years ago. She blogs about eating real food, living naturally & chemical free, and their struggles with pregnancy loss and infertility. Her Etsy store and creating her own line of spices also keeps her busy. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.