Use Your Words: Friday, November 13th, 2015

Hello and wishes for a happy Friday to you!

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them.

Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 

I’m using:   anniversary ~ sleeping ~ forgive ~ rhythm ~ necessities.

They were submitted by:

Never Ever Give Up Hope  -Thanks Carol!
                        *    *    *

The black and white words stare back at me. I read the last page first. I always do, I can't stand surprises, and I'm glad I did.

"If there is one take-away message that this book can offer to those in service work or supporting it, it is this: the poor, no matter how destitute, have enormous untapped capacity ; find it, be inspired by it, and build upon it".

-Toxic Charity: How Churches And Charities Hurt Those They Help

My head hurts in a good way if that is indeed possible. My mind is reeling from too much information that it probably already knew but is trying to digest and figure out what it means to me.

I am a giver. I always have been and always will be. Since I was a little girl I would give away my money, my toys, my crayons, my whatever if it brought a smile to someone else's face.

Saying I didn't have much growing up is an understatement, well at least in the materialistic sense. I had love, laughter, guidance, and loads of sarcasm, exactly what every little girl needs to grow up to be the sardonic, self-deprecating jackass she hopes to be. But when it came to necessities like food and what not to say we struggled a bit isn't quite accurate.

We had no monies. We had little food. If I didn't get clothes for my birthday from extended family members then my threads came from the donation piles at church. No hard feelings, just the truth. It's hard for my mom to admit that or talk about the real facts about raising me sometimes. She has apologized for not being able to provide me with more growing up but there is nothing to forgive. There is nothing to move on from or heal from. I have no shame in the way I was raised. I have no shame in what I didn't have. She did what she had to do and it taught me one of the most important lessons in life-perseverance.

As Thanksgiving nears, I find myself thinking back to when we were delivered a food basket and I was maybe 9 and thought it was so nice but the strained smile on my mom's face stopped my stupid little joyous heart. It was an odd feeling. We only had dinner because they brought it. My mom felt shame, so then I felt shame but I also wanted to be nice and polite.  What made the situation the odd was the way the people who had delivered the food were lingering. Like they were waiting with bated breath for excitement, for joy, for extreme gratitude for us poor folks to kiss their feet and jump up and down. They surveyed our simple apartment with astute eyes, made no real attempt to make a connection or conversation but you could feel the contentment roll off of them for their job well of helping the poor around the holidays.

However, I have been on both sides of this awkward scenario. I have also been the foolish one to stand delivering the gifts and food awaiting my applause for my act of kindness. Proud as a peacock of being able to help those who needed it I unconsciously discounted people's feelings and dignity searching for a way to validate my own.

In my younger days, I felt I needed to prove I no longer needed help, instead I had to show that I could help others. I wasn't stuck in that bracket of 'poor', I was better. But turns out, I wasnt. I was just another immature ass who didn't truly know how to give from their heart.

I was helped and I was the helper and both times my heart wasn't really ready to accept or give.

It took me years to find my rhythm, to find my place, my fit. After realizing that simply performing an act of 'kindness' did nothing for my soul or the recipients I had to take a step back and reevaluate what I was truly doing and why I was doing it. If I wanted to truly make the world a better place I had to put love into my work. I had to meet the people I was serving, I had to form relationships, get outside of my comfort zone, truly put my heart into my serving. And you know what I found out?

I probably enjoy serving others more than anything else. Not because I feel better about what I'm doing, not because it makes me look awesome and I should be the next candidate for canonization, but because it allows me to put love into the world and get some back by learning and listening to people's life stories.

Love baby, it makes the world go round.

Recently, someone asked me how long I had been volunteering with the local women and children's shelter. They seemed put off that I didn't know the exact anniversary, they began to pick and prod asking why I don't talk about it like I used to years ago.

Quite simply put, I don't need to talk about it. I don't need to share my volunteering experiences with anyone else. I don't need to advertise how or when I help others. I need to just do what feels right for my soul. I need to talk, learn and laugh with those with whom I volunteer. I need to deepen my relationships, I need to serve others the ways I know how. I don't have to answer to anyone and I'll tell you now they can make assumptions or whatever they want about me and I'll still be sleeping perfectly well at night.

My head hurts in a good way and I do know now that it is indeed possible. My mind is reeling realizing that I have been on both sides of the fence and finally understand that I'm happy where I water my grass because I get that it gets greener and flourishes when I take care of it. It doesn't flourish when I am embarrassed when people help me with my lawn, it doesn't flourish when I stand there waiting for people to notice my hard work, it flourishes when I shut up, get dirty and work til my heart is truly content.

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

Spatulas on Parade

The Momisodes

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo

Southern Belle Charm

Never Ever Give Up Hope 

Rena’s World 
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

The Bergham Chronicles

Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

Confessions of a part-time working mom

Someone Else’s Genius


The Angrivated Mom


  1. I understand your need for connection, to do more than just give. But there is real value in just giving too. Whatever we can do is more than nothing,
    When I was little and my mom was a teacher, she would regularly bundle up my clothes and take them to the parents of one of her students. She always had me come with her, but made me stay in the car. I realize now that she wanted to give, wanted me to see her give, but did not want to embarrass the child. Needless to say, it's had an impact. I remember it still.

  2. Beautiful post, Jenn!
    I think it's a fine line between wanting to do something good for other people and feeling some "validation" as the people that we are. Glad you have found your place ❤

  3. I agree with Tamara beautiful! Thank you for teaching us all a lesson. Happy Thanksgiving and keep up the good work!

  4. Glad you found your place. A lesson we all need to focus on.

  5. I remember during charity work through my parent's church every Christmas. I found great joy in shopping for the family we were given, but always felt uncomfortable when we delivered the gifts and food. I knew I had more than they did and our charity seemed a pittance in comparison. All I felt was humble, though I plastered a smile on my face.

    When I was on the receiving end of charity, I think my humility caused me to be... I don't want to say more grateful, but able to show my gratitude instead of feeling shame. I knew we needed help and the help we received was beyond anything I could have hoped for.

    Some day I hope to be in a place where I can get back to being the giver.

  6. There are lots of good reasons to give, but a few bad ones too. When people are doing it for accolades, it just feels wrong all around. Kudos to you for giving in the right way for the right reasons.


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