As I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family last week I took some time to reflect on everything that I am thankful for.  The book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp immediately came to mind, as it is easily one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of gratefulness.  The whole premiss of the book is centered around the fact that when we are thankful – right where we are and with what we have – and act out of a place of gratitude, only then will we experience joy.  That essentially, gratitude produces joy.  Upon reading this crazy notion I decided to put it into practice and nothing has been truer in my life.  Most of us experience seasons of I want more or when I have that or when I become that – THEN I WILL BE HAPPY.  When I feel discontent and discouraged I immediately check myself and think, what are you thankful for?  Sometimes I even sit down and make a list so that I can visibly see all that I have to be grateful for.

One of the most sobering reminders for me is that as a woman, just being born in American puts me in the top 5% of the richest in the world.  When you consider that there are more deaths every year from lack of clean water than war, you automatically change your thinking.  Not having the latest thing doesn’t seem important in comparison to the large-scale suffering around the world and simply having a house, water, food, etc. become enough.

This holiday season my mission is to keep things in perspective.  My mission is to remain grateful and to give more than I receive.  My mission is to not be a selfish consumer of the world, but rather a grateful contributor to those in need and I challenge you to do the same!  Find a charity to support, feed and love the homeless at your local shelter, buy gifts for children who have so little, buy a poverty-stricken family a goat and two chickens (I’m serious!).  Below are a few amazing organizations that I love to support.  I hope the spirit of the holiday season will fill you with gratitude, joy, and a heart to serve.

World Vision – Interested in providing a family with a goat and two chickens?  Check out World Vision.

Samaritan’s Purse – Pack a shoe box full of goodies to be sent to a needy child in an impoverished country.  See how to pack a shoebox below.

Charity: Water – You have to watch this video!  So many cool ways to get involved.