I’ve got a big plan for Lent this year which will come in a couple weeks so I’m just catching up on smaller things that came my way recently.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities
Some give aways come by chance. We hired someone to do some electrical work at our house and the worker happened to mention that his hobby was making craft projects (like elaborate sailing ships) out of popsicle sticks. Ah Ha! I had recently reorganized some drawers and found a large supply of craft sticks that I suppose I was saving for some art project with the kids that never happened. Why not pass them on to this fellow who would use them soon rather than “maybe someday.” Keep your eyes open. Opportunities to lighten your possessions can come unbidden. Have you ever been blessed by seeing an unexpected opportunity to give or share?

Helping kids give stuff away
Last Christmas we gave each of our grandchildren a gift that we knew they would really enjoy. BUT we also decided to give them a gift that we hoped would stimulate their generosity. We gave them a $50 certificate from Toy Lending Library of Cincinnati (a local non-profit that lends toys or books to needy children in our city).

We also asked them if they wanted to “match” this gift by choosing several toys or books that they were willing to have us give away from our stash of stuff we kept for them when they visited. They chose several books and a few of our many plastic dinosaurs and little cars. I took the books to a nearby Little Free Library but wasn’t sure who to give the toys to.

As it turned out, four children were playing near the Little Free Library so I offered them the toys and they were happy for the unexpected treat. We hoped that taking a step to give away some of Nana’s toys might prompt them to do the same at home. We’ll see.

PS: In the Vogt spirit of giving Christmas gifts that serve others, I was thankful and proud that our daughter, Heidi, gave me an “alternative” Christmas gift called “A Child’s Arrival Bundle.”  from the Choose Love store that gives helpful products to refugees.