There have been several bonuses from the Bishop of Connecticut search. One was to change my spiritual discipline regarding food this past July (via Weight Watchers online; so easy to do with an Iphone App!). That's working well. There's over 30 pounds less of the unhealthy part of me right now.
Another bonus was to be to seriously look at all the stuff in my house. The possibility of packing up and moving would have been a daunting task if I were elected Bishop of Connecticut. When I wasn't elected, I knew that I had a nudge to go ahead and get started on the clean up. Why wait to move to enjoy my cleaned-out home?
The last week of 2009 I got seriously started. This week I took eight garbage bags full of stuff that wouldn't be considered garbage to Goodwill.
It felt so good that I decided that one of my spiritual disciplines this year would be to intentionally clean out one place in my house each day and to put at least one item in the give- away bag daily.
Saturday I cleaned out my requests for donations folder. If you're like me, you get an awful lot of invitations to give. I tend to store those pleas in a folder and sit down and go through them all at once.
This rare week of not having to write a sermon or prepare a Sunday School class gave me a full morning. On this year beginning, I went through each request prayerfully. End of year giving from my generous parish made my Discretionary Fund full, and I wrote checks to over a dozen ministries.
From my own pocket, I wrote more checks to support my local PBS television and radio stations. I've also decided to sponsor a child with Big Brothers Big Sisters NW (my son tells me that time donations are up, but that money donations are way down).
I was inspired to sponsor a child in thanksgiving for the new grandchild that will be born in our family late this summer. I may have gotten the idea from my best friend from her own Project Georgia Grace.
Georgia Grace was my friend's first grandchild. There's nothing more fun, I'm told, than buying treats for a grandbaby. Of course, like so many children, Georgia Grace really had enough of most everything. So my friend made a rule: Every time she bought a gift for Georgia Grace, she had to buy an equal item for the local assistance ministry. Isn't that a great plan?
In the same spirit, I'll give some money each month for a child in the Portland area as I share the abundance that I know that Grandbaby "AJ" already has.
Meanwhile, I invite you to join me in the clean out/give away daily discipline. Emptying and filling, receiving and giving are very good things.