I had mentioned before that during our Les Mis sparring session which included several nights of watching two versions of the movie, Jesyka (her blog here) and I also drooled through basically the whole season of Basketball Wives, had some good serious conversations, and stumbled upon an Extreme Couponing epiphany. Several of the episodes showed people who were not buying groceries to be stored away in some basement apocalyptic shelving unit, but rather were getting these free goods to give to charities.
What a novel idea, we thought.
We vowed by the end of April to try our own feeble attempt at couponing so we could do the same.
I have to be honest, though. I really feel awkward writing posts like this, as if I’m saying “Hi – Look at me! I tried doing something good!!! I’m going to heaven, nanny nanny poo poo stick your head in doo doo.” It really does bother me. But then I remembered the first time I kinda stuck my neck out there to share my attempt at doing good… It was this post (click here), about the homeless bags. Several of you told me that after reading it, have either thrown it out as an idea or have actually done it with friends, bible study groups, etc. And Jesyka even said that it was only after reading that post that she decided to take a chance and post her first ever comment on my blog, thus beginning a strange start to a stranger friendship.
But really, my semi-recent obsession with focusing outward goes back further to this post I wrote: click here.
I’ve always been a “do-er”, which normally entails doing things for myself, for entertainment, but never really focusing on other people. It wasn’t until I had Ruthie, I think, that it started to shift dramatically.
It started to shift so much that Ryan and I began having long talks about how we wanted to raise Ruth, what kind of community (spiritual and otherwise) did we want her surrounded by, what did we want her to learn. This led to us joining another church, being (more) proactive in charities, and taking leaps of faith with friends to try to do. Just try to do. That’s it, really.
Our pastor had a great sermon last Sunday on the need to strike the balance of brain and heart. Studying the bible is awesome and necessary, but you also need passion. And heart. And a certain “umph” to do. Ryan and I are right where we need to be in this spiritual community of studiers/do-ers. I am excited and grateful.
But there’s also friends in my local community that feel just as compelled. They’re not hard to find. You just have to talk about it and commit to trying.
Jesyka came over one night for a little planning session. We had just started subscribing to the weekend newspaper, so plenty o’coupons were to be had.
In our small town, we don’t have a lot of options as far as retailers go, so the ability to find huge savings was difficult.
But I do have to say, Walgreens is pretty darn awesome. I’m sure most of you know about the points system and that if you get so many points, it’ll take off five dollar increments towards your next purchase. So we basically looked at this first shopping adventure as a starting off point for the next time…in which we can save even more.
I took cutting out the coupons very seriously.
And folding the coupons to go into the baseball card plastic holders even more so.
Check out that skill: Amount off, brand, and expiration date all visible.
Hey, it’s the little things.
Jesyka tried. I told her to never make that face again. (See? I’m always being charitable, even with my advice.)
And this is the loot we came up with. We were able to make four packages of all of this and spent, now I can’t remember exactly, was it $25-30 each? So just over ten dollars a package, not so bad. Next time will be better because of all the points we’re accumulating.
We daydreamed about how to go about handing out these four boxes. She knew of a pregnant woman that was in need of some goods and got it delivered to her through another friend. I knew of a family that lived directly behind us that could use it as well. One of the boys is always riding around our townhomes and talks openly about what they (don’t) eat.
My heart was screaming at me to take one of the boxes to his mom.
I’m a coward.
Everytime I got the cojones to do something, I’d imagine flubbering all over myself when talking to her:
“Hi! I’m Carolyn. I heard you were POOR. Have some food.”
“Hi! We’re helping out the NEEDY, take this food.”
“Hi! Your son’s hungry. Feed him this.”
Ugh. I could not get over my fear of what would come out of my mouth. I know this is when I should’ve taken a deep breath, prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me with words, and just done it. As someone told me once, you can’t fail if you try to do good.
But I just couldn’t. And everytime I see him, I think of a missed opportunity…. Seeing something I put together to directly help a family in need.
Instead, I packed up the boxes, along with an old blanket, and it took it to our town’s food drive/thrift store.
They were of course happy to receive the items, and I know that they do a lot of good for the community. I think I just wanted to help directly… hand-to-hand. Instead of like “paying towards the administration fees” as I know I’m doing when I donate money to charities.
The good thing is there is always someone in need, always another opportunity. Look around, you’ll see too.
…now back to the regularly scheduled program: Ruthie. And the shoes she put on backwards all by herself.