Sunday, November 27, 2011

Who she was and what this is

First of all, let me say, Happy Birthday, Granny. It's your 2nd one to celebrate in heaven and I'm sure that it is beyond imagination.

Birthdays provide great opportunities to honor someone, and that's why I chose Granny's birthday as the official launch date for this endeavor. Granny was a generous person. She couldn't bear for someone to hurt or lack for anything. The first time I remember this quality in her was in the 2nd grade at Grandparent's Day. One of my friends was grandparentless for the occasion and Granny couldn't stand the idea of Brooke missing a second of the experience, so she and Pop adopted her for the day. Brooke became one of hers and Granny asked about her frequently for the rest of her life. She loved to give to people--her time (she was always visiting the home bound or chauffeuring her friends to the doctors), her money (she would tell me all the time, "Easy come, easy go--you can't take it with you!"), her love. I can remember her rolling down her window and handing street peddlers money and turning back to me and saying, "But for the grace of God, Rachel, that could be any of us." I always thought she was incredibly rich because of how much I saw her give away.

When Granny died, she left me some money. Josh and I dreamed and despaired over how to spend it. WWGD? What would Granny do? It's been the standard I have used when spending bits of it here and there. We bought a huge sectional for our family room. It was a great purchase because it physically draws our family together and I know she would have loved that. The first year she was gone, I bought all of my kids one birthday present from her with it. (More for my sentimentality than theirs.) And when our washing machine broke, "Granny" bought us a new one. That made me smile, because Granny loved to help with the laundry. She knew it was a very tangible way to love on me. We've tossed around the idea of using it to help with private school tuition, but that never felt right to me because it would probably only benefit one of the kids (and Granny was all about fairness) and when that school year was over and the money was gone, I knew I would feel empty.

What it has boiled down to for me is how to make her money last as long as possible with the most meaning. She wouldn't have wanted me to hoard it (remember, easy come, easy go--you can't take it with you), she would have wanted us to enjoy it (and we have splurged on a few things), she would have wanted us to use it if we needed it (check), but I think the most honoring thing I can do now is spend it like she would have . . . on someone else. The best way I can keep her memory and her money going is by using it for the hurting or the lonely or the needy. I want to donate to ministries that, sometimes, our family budget isn't as available for as I would like it to be (you know with 4 kids and all).

But what if I had a way? What if I had a fund for that? Not a monthly commitment, but the opportunity to see something that stirs me and say, "I can help you!"

Thus, Gifts From Granny. I am attempting to get non-profit status so that anyone who chooses to join me and contributes can receive a tax break, but we are not there yet. GFG is in the early stages of what I hope will be a long standing ministry. I envision us giving money towards causes that were near and dear to Granny's heart.  This blog will also provide an opportunity for me to spotlight any ministry we give money to and announce fundraising opportunities for Gifts From Granny. There is no pressure to give if you read the blog. It can be merely informative--expose you to people and ministries to pray for or point you their own websites where you can give directly to them. There is a donate button on the side of the blog that will be functional sometime this week. Again, I can't offer you any kind of tax break right now for a donation, but of course they are still welcomed and appreciated. I promise that I will be wise and discerning with my ministry choices. GFG has absolutely no overhead or administrative costs. It's "run" out of my house by me, so at this time, 100% of donations will go to out.

Tomorrow, I will share about the first official gift from Granny. It's one I know she would have given money to on her own if she were still alive.

I am relieved to have this opportunity. I know that it's a weird word for something like this, but it is the best emotional description I can give. As soon as I landed on this idea and dream, I was certain it was right because everything calmed within me. I knew that when the last dollar was spent this way, through this ministry, however long it lasts, I would not have to grieve my last thing from Granny being gone. I won't be sad that there is no money left because it won't be gone, it will be invested . . . eternally . . . in things that matter here and in heaven.

So, thank you, Granny. I have the chance to give to people and things that I couldn't have given to without you. I love, love, love knowing you are still impacting lives. And I love you.

1 comment:

  1. This is such an awesome way to remember Bernyce. She was always so sweet & loving to me & my family. We love her & miss her. Uncle John & I were talking about her just the other night. Did you know I got the famous broccoli, rice & cheese casserole recipe from her? :)